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The Bay and Its Cities 




Compiled by Workers 

oj the Work Projects Administration 
in Northern California 



Sponsored by the City and County of San Francisco 




Official sponsor of the Northern 
California Writers' Projects 

JOHN M. CARMODY, Administrator 


F. C. HARRINGTON, Commissioner 

FLORENCE KERR, Assistant Commissioner 

WILLIAM R. LAWSON, Administrator for Northern California 



All rights are reserved, including the rights to reproduce 
this book or parts thereof in any form. 



So many books have been written about San Francisco and its neigh- 
bor cities around San Francisco Bay that the writing of still another 
may seem to call for explanation. But for all those who have shared in 
the compilation and editing of this book research workers, reporters, 
writers, editors, and supervisors of the Northern California Writers' 
Project in San Francisco and Oakland it needs no apology. All 
throughout the long labor of preparing it they have realized only too 
keenly how much remains to be written about a city whose history has 
been the stuff of legend since its beginning how much remained before 
it was written and still remains afterward. For this book, although we 
have crowded between its covers uncounted thousands of those facts 
which go to make up the story of a great metropolitan center names 
and dates, descriptions of places and people, tales and anecdotes and even 
some myths still leaves much of the story untold, as any book must. 
But the book will have accomplished its purpose if what it leaves unsaid 
the reader will want to know. 

During the preparation of this volume, Margaret Wilkins acted as 
State Editorial Supervisor, Paul Johnson as State Research Supervisor, 
and Willis Foster as Oakland District Supervisor. Wallace Boyle, 
Charles Coppock, S. S. Greenleaf, and Dorothy Wagner served as edi- 
tors; Juanita Turner and Gordon Williams as research editors. Al- 
though virtually the entire San Francisco, Oakland, and San Rafael 
staffs shared in the compilation of the book, the writing of the final 
manuscript was done largely by Jackson Barber, Dean Beshlich, Marc 
Bliss, Madeline Gleason, Gladys Pittman, Thomas Ray, Kenneth Rex- 
roth, and Dorothy Van Ghent of the San Francisco staff and Porter 
Chaffee, Henry Darnell, Frances Garoutte, Howard Hoffman, Ethel 
Manning, and Thomas Patterson of the Oakland staff. Much of the 
section "North of the Bay" is the work of Cora Vernon Lee, Sacra- 
mento District Supervisor. We are indebted for the essay "Before the 
Footlights" to Lawrence Estavan, Supervisor of the History of the San 
Francisco Theater Project. The index was compiled by Max Loewen- 
thal and the bibliography by W. Stanley. The maps were prepared by 


George Hill and J. H. Marion and some of the photographs by Theo- 
dore Baron, James Hall, and Howard Hoffman of the project staff. 

For their generous cooperation in reading and criticizing various 
chapters, we are particularly indebted to Dr. Herbert E. Bolton, Chair- 
man, Department of History, University of California ; Alfred Franken- 
stein, Music and Art Editor, San Francisco Chronicle; Clyde Healy, 
Assistant City Engineer, San Francisco; Joseph Henry Jackson, Book 
Editor, San Francisco Chronicle; Dr. Alfred L. Kroeber, Department 
of Anthropology, University of California; Cornel Lengyel, Supervisor, 
History of Music Project, Work Projects Administration; Charles 
Lindstrom, Assistant Curator, San Francisco Museum of Art; George 
Mullaney, Director of Publications, San Francisco Board of Education ; 
George Pettit, Assistant to the President, University of California ; Dr. 
Frank Fenton, San Francisco State College; M. Sprague, Associate 
Meteorologist, United States Weather Bureau ; Dr. George R. Stewart, 
Jr., Associate Professor of English, University of California ; Dr. Theo- 
dore E. Treutlein, San Francisco State College; C. M. Wheeler, Vice- 
President, McCormick Steamship Company. 

We are extremely grateful for the assistance provided by the follow- 
ing librarians: Robert Rae and his assistants, Mary A. Byrne, Jessica 
Fredericks, Edith Mau, Elinor Sturgis, of the San Francisco Public 
Library; Mary O. Carmody and Helen Bryant of the Mechanics'- 
Mercantile Library; Dr. Herbert Priestley and Edna Parratt of the 
Bancroft Library; Richard Taggert of the University of California 
Library; John B. Kaiser and Mabel W. Thomas of the Oakland Public 
Library ; Susan T. Smith of the Berkeley Public Library ; Jane I. Curtis 
and Theodora T. Larsen of the Alameda Public Library ; Mary Barmby 
of the Alameda County Library; Edith Daley of the San Jose Public 
Library ; Virginia Vail of the Marin County Library ; and Jessie A. Lea 
of the Martinez Public Library. We also are grateful to the librarians 
of the San Francisco Chronicle, Marjorie D. Brown and Dorothy M. 
Frisch; of the San Francisco Call-Bulletin, Stuart Rasmussen; of the 
San Francisco Examiner, Dwight Newton, for their help. 

Of the many organizations and public agencies which assisted us, we 
are especially indebted to the Alameda City Clerk's and City Auditor's 
offices; Alameda County Development Association; California Histori- 
cal Society; California State Automobile Association; California State 
Board of Education, Board of Harbor Commissioners, Division of 
Mines, Fish and Game Commission, and Park Commission; Cali- 
fornians, Inc. ; the Chambers of Commerce of Alameda, Berkeley, Oak- 
land, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Rosa, and Sonoma; Contra Costa 
County Development Association ; Marvelous Marin, Inc. ; National 
Automobile Club; Northern California Hotel Association; Oakland 


Park Commission; Pacific Coast Labor Bureau; Redwood Empire Asso- 
ciation; San Francisco City and County Board of Education, Board of 
Health, Assessor's Office, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, Palace 
of the Legion of Honor, Park Commission, Police Department, and 
Recreation Commission ; San Francisco Convention and Tourist Bureau ; 
San Francisco Hotel Association ; Shell Travel Bureau ; Society of Cali- 
fornia Pioneers ; Southern Pacific News Bureau ; Standard Oil Company 
of California; United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, Department of 
Agriculture, National Park Service, and Travel Bureau; and the Wine 
Institute of California. 

For special assistance we are indebted to Harris Allen of the Federal 
Housing Authority; Joseph Allen, State Supervisor, Northern Cali- 
fornia Art Project; W. N. Burkhardt, Editor-in-chief, San Francisco 
News; Joseph Gumming, President, Downtown Association; A. C. 
Dearborn, United States Travel Bureau; Ignatius Dwyer, Deputy 
Registrar of Voters, City and County of San Francisco; Luisa Vallejo 
Emparan; William A. Gaw, California School of Fine Arts; Wanda 
Hannah; G. Lansing Hurd, Secretary, Santa Rosa Chamber of Com- 
merce; Chingwah Lee, editor, Chinese Digest; Major Truman Martin, 
Press Relations Officer, Ninth Corps Area, United States Army; E. P. 
Meadows, Supervisor, Project 10945, Work Projects Administration; 
Irving Morrow; Laura Bride Powers; Robert Sibley, Executive Man- 
ager, Associated Students of the University of California; Charles 
Stewart; John Swett, Jr.; Edward van Ribbink, editor, Oakland 
Tribune Year Book; James J. Walsh; Eric Walter, Assistant Super- 
intendent, Golden Gate Park. 

WALTER MCELROY, State Supervisor 







/. Gateway to the West 


The Opening of the Gate 4 

Earth and Water 6 

The Climate 9 

Wild Life 10 


Natives of the Country 14 

The White Men Came l6 

Yankee Invasion 21 


World Port 30 

Smokestacks Around the Bay 35 

Engineering Enterprise 4O 


Centers of Learning . 4 

Argonauts of Letters 5& 

Art and Artists 65 




//. "The City" 



Hotel and Other Accommodations 84 

Restaurants 86 

Sports - 87 

Churches ' ' - 9 



The Village of Yerba Buena (1835-1848) . . . 9& 

Capital of the Gold Coast (1848-1856) ........ 98 

Bonanza (1856-1875) IO3 

Big City (1875-1906) 105 

Rising Phoenix (1906-1940) J o8 


Wall Street of the West H4 

Labor's Thousands I2O 

SOCIAL HERITAGE . . . . . 127 

High Life and Low Life 127 

Before the Footlights 135 

Music Makers 140 

San Francisco Goes to Church 145 

Gentlemen of the Press I5O 

///. Around the World in San Francisco 

Civic CENTER 161 






LORDS OF THE HILLTOPS ........ ... 252 

EMBARCADERO .............. 260 

SOUTH OF MARKET . . . . .......... 271 

WESTERN ADDITION ............. 282 

RIM OF THE GOLDEN GATE . . . . ..... . 304 

GOLDEN GATE PARK ............ 329 

IF. Around the Bay 


The Farallones ............. 359 

Alcatraz ............... 3^2 

Angel Island ............. 364 

Yerba Buena ............. 366 

Treasure Island ............. 


Oakland ............... 375 

Berkeley ............... 393 

Alameda .............. 408 

East Bay Tour 1 ..... ....... 414 

East Bay Tour 2 ........... . 425 

NORTH BAY ............... 435 

North Bay Tour ............. 435 

DOWN THE PENINSULA ............ 460 

Peninsula Tour ............. 461 

SAN JOSE . ............. 486 

V '. Appendices 


A SELECT READING LIST ........... 501 

INDEX ................. 505 



The Bay and its Cities 

Copyright, Gabriel Moulin 
Golden Gate Bridged by World's 
Tallest, Longest Span 

Courtesy San Francisco Con- 
vention and Tourist Bu- 
Peninsula Cliffs 

Courtesy San Francisco Pen- 
insula, Inc. 
Orchards Carpet the Valleys 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


Mount Tamalpais Looms over 
Marin County 

Courtesy Marvelous Marin, 

The Presidio in 1816 

Drawing by Louis Choris 

Graveyard, Mission Dolores 

Northern California Writers' 


Northernmost Mission at Sonoma 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


Russian Chapel at Fort Ross 
Northern California Writers' 


Vallejo's Casa Grande near Peta- 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


Pedro Font's Map of San Fran- 
cisco Bay (1777) 

Copyright, Regents of Uni- 
versity of California 


Between 106 and 107 

Mural by Diego Rivera, San 
Francisco Stock Exchange 

Courtesy San Francisco Mu- 
seum of Art 

Golden Gate Bridge Under Con- 

Courtesy Standard Oil Com- 

Water and Power from the 
Sierra: O'Shaughnessy Dam 
Courtesy San Francisco 

Water Dept. 

Steamers Drydocked in Oakland 
Courtesy San Francisco 

Chamber of Commerce 
Giant Towers Carry 165,000 
Volts Across Carquinez Strait 
Courtesy Pacific Gas and 
Electric Company 

Oil for the World at Point Rich- 

Courtesy San Francisco 

Chamber of Commerce 
Sugar Refining at Carquinez 

Courtesy C. & H. Sugar Re- 
fining Corp. 

Stanford Chapel from the Quad, 
Palo Alto 

Courtesy State Chamber of 


Mills College Art Gallery, Oak- 

Courtesy Mills College 
Lick Observatory of University 
of California, Mt. Hamilton 
Courtesy Californians Inc. 



Sather Gate, University of Cali- Sun Yat Sen, in St. Mary's 
fornia Square Memorial by Benia- 

Northern California Writers' mino Bufano 

Project Northern California Writers' 


III. SAN FRANCISCO'S BY-GONE DAYS Between 136 and 137 

American Flag Raised at Yerba 
Buena (1846) 

Courtesy Wells Fargo Bank 

& Union Trust Company 
Yerba Buena Cove Crowded with 
Ships (1849) 

Courtesy Southern Pacific 
Business District in 1852 

Courtesy San Francisco Ex- 

Execution by Second Vigilance 
Committee (1856) 

Courtesy Wells Fargo Bank 

& Union Trust Company 
Panorama From Russian Hill 
Courtesy George Fanning 
Abandoned Ships on Waterfront 
Prior to 1851 

Copyright, Martin Behrman 
The First Cable Train (1873) 

Courtesy J. W. Harris 
Shipbuilding South of Rincon 
Point (1865) 

Courtesy Southern Pacific 

Greenwich Street Cable Car 
Climbing Telegraph Hill 

Martin Behrman Collection 
Vallejo Street Wharf in Early 

Courtesy Southern Pacific 
Cliff House (1866) 

Courtesy Southern Pacific 
Barbary Coast (1914) 

Courtesy James Hall 
Great Fire of 1906: Looking 
Down Kearny Street Toward 

Courtesy San Francisco 

Aftermath of the Great Fire 

Courtesy San Francisco 


Ruins of Old St. Mary's Church 

Courtesy Old St. Mary's 


City Hall 

Northern California Writers' 

Exposition Auditorium 

Courtesy U. S. Travel Bu- 

San Francisco's Jagged Terraces 
from the Bay 

Copyright, Gabriel Moulin 
Skyline from a Sky Window 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 

Market Street at 5:15 

Northern California Writers' 

Between 198 and 199 

Labor Day Parade up Market 

Courtesy San Francisco 


A Five Minute Walk from Busi- 
ness District 

Northern California Writers' 

Four-Fifty Sutter Building and 

Sir Francis Drake Hotel 
Portsmouth Plaza 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


IV. DOWNTOWN continued 
Montgomery Block 

Northern California Art 


Monument to Robert Louis Ste- 
venson, in Portsmouth Plaza 
Courtesy Calif ornians Inc. 


California Street Still Challenges 
the Cable Car 

Courtesy State Chamber of 


Chinese New Year Celebration 
Northern California Writers' 


Chinese Children at Thanksgiving 
Playground Party 

Courtesy San Francisco Rec- 
reation Commission 
Grant Avenue 

Northern California Writers' 

Fisherman's Wharf 

Courtesy San Francisco Con- 
vention and Tourist Bu- 

Between 260 and 261 

Fisherman's Wharf 

Courtesy Californians Inc. 
SS. Peter and Paul Church 

Northern California Writers' 


Pacific Union Club, Mark Hop- 
kins and Fairmont Hotels on 
Nob Hill 

Octagonal House on Russian 
Hill, built in 1854 

Northern California Art 

Pacific Heights 

Northern California Writers' 


Telegraph Hill from the Precipi- 
tous Side 

Northern California Writers' 


Ferry Building and Boats 

Courtesy Southern Pacific 
Ships at Dock 

Northern California Art 

Highway and Ocean Beach 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


Panama Pacific International Ex- 
position (1915) 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


Sutro Heights 
Aquatic Park 

Courtesy San Francisco Con- 
vention and Tourist Bu- 

M. H. De Young Memorial Mu- 
seum, Golden Gate Park 

Northern California Writers' 

Between 322 and 323 

Mission Dolores 

Courtesy Californians Inc. 
Carpenters' Gothic 

Northern California Art 

Bay Windows Catch the Sun 

Northern California Art 


The Pride of Antiquarians (En- 
gine Company No. 15 2150 
California Street) 

Northern California Writers' 


U. S. S. California in Drydock at 
Hunter's Point 

Courtesy State Board of Har- 
bor Commissioners 
Sea Island Sugar Refinery 

Courtesy Sea Island Sugar 



Pacified, Goddess of Two Expo- 
sitions Sculpture by Ralph 

Courtesy Golden Gate Inter- 
national Exposition 
Clipper in Flight over Treasure 

Clyde H. Sunderland Photo 
Fountain of Western Waters, 
Golden Gate Exposition 

Courtesy Golden Gate Inter- 
national Exposition 
Evening Star, in the Court of the 

Courtesy Golden Gate Inter- 
national Exposition 
Oakland Business District from 
Lake Merritt 

Courtesy Oakland Post-En- 

Courtesy State Chamber of 


From Skyline Boulevard the Hills 
Unfold to the Sea 

Courtesy San Francisco Pen- 
insula Inc. 

Montalvo Foundation of San 
Francisco Art Association near 

Courtesy Montalvo Founda- 

Skyline Dam and Boulevard at 
Crystal Springs Lakes 

Courtesy San Francisco Pen- 
insula Inc. 
Pigeon Point Lighthouse 

Courtesy San Francisco Pen- 
insula Inc. 

Raccoon Strait from Sausalito, 
Marin Countv 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


Between 416 and 417 
University of California in the 

Courtesy Odkland Post-En- 

Airview, University of California 
Courtesy State Chamber of 


Oakland Long Wharf, Built in 

Courtesy Southern Pacific 
Oakland Wharf Terminal of 
Central Pacific (1878) 

Courtesy Southern Pacific 
Big Wheeled Newark (1877- 

Courtesy Southern Pacific 
Home of Derelicts Ships and 
Human Beings 

Howard B. Hoffman Photo 

Mission San Jose de Guadalupe 

Northern California Writers' 


Vineyard in Livemore Valley 
Courtesy Wine Institute 


Between 478 and 479 
Muir Woods National Monu- 
ment, Marin County 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


In Petrified Forest near Calistoga 
Courtesy Redwood Empire 

Russian River Playground 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 

State Capitol (1853), Benicia 

Northern California Writers' 


Home of Luther Burbank, Santa 

Courtesy Redwood Empire 


Dirigible Hangar, Moffett Field, 

Courtesy San Jose Chamber 
of Commerce 
















Gateway to the West 


The Bay and the Land 

". . . an immense arm of the sea, or an estuary, which pene- 
trated into the land as far as the eye could reach . . ." 


WHEN the first settlers, led by Lieutenant Jose Joaquin Moraga, 
arrived June 27, 1776, on the site of San Francisco, the Amer- 
ican people were yet to declare themselves a Nation though 
within seven days they would do so, 3,000 miles away on the Atlantic 
seaboard. Seven decades would pass before the heirs of '76 would raise 
their flag on this site. Two years more, and the name of San Francisco 
would go round the world. 

It "never was a village" this had been its proud boast. Where 
barren sand dunes, marshes, and brackish lagoons had surrounded an 
abandoned mission and a decaying fort with rusty cannon, San Francisco 
sprang into life overnight a lusty, brawling he-man town of tents and 
deserted ships. Business, mushroomlike, flourished in mud-deep streets. 
Almost before it had achieved a corporate identity, San Francisco was a 
metropolis to be named in the same breath with Boston or Buenos 
Aires, Stockholm or Shanghai. 

When the other cities of the Coast were still hamlets in forest clear- 
ings or desert cow-towns, San Francisco was "The City." It is "The 
City" still. Massed on the tip of its Peninsula, its skyscrapers tower 
skyward from the peaks of the highest hills: great shafts of concrete 
banked in swirling billows of white mist when the fogs move in from 
the sea glittering with pinpoints of reflected light from their countless 
windows when the sun shines from a clear blue sky. Crowding on each 
other, the hills rear their endless terraces of buildings, descending to the 
water's edge like steps, cleft by streets that strike up the steepest slopes 
and plunge down the deepest valleys with reckless fidelity to their 
straight and narrow paths. 

Around the curving Peninsula's tip jut widespread fingers that are 
piers harboring their great ships. Soaring to heights greater than the 
hilltop skyscrapers, the girders of the bridge towers lift their slim steel 
spans high above the smokestacks of passing ships. Over their suspended 
roadbeds traffic streams across the racing tides of the Golden Gate to 
the bluffs and thicket-choked gullies of the Marin shore and across the 
Bay's wide sweep of gray-green water to the mainland. There, on the 



eastern shores of the Bay, rising like the tiers of a vast amphitheater to 
wooded crests, spread mile after mile of buildings homes and schools, 
business blocks and factories. And on every side the age-old hills vivid 
with the green of fresh-growing grass after winter rains, sere and brown 
in summer encircle the blue water : wilderness neighbor to the city. 


If some titanic convulsion of the earth were to drain San Francisco 
Bay of all its waters, it would look merely like one of those shallow, 
hill-rimmed valleys which stretch away from its upper and lower 
reaches. Through a gap in the chain of hills along its eastern edge, a 
great river would pour into its upper end and, winding southward, flood 
out to sea through a deep gorge hollowed in the coastal range. Within 
the recent geologic past the Bay was just such a valley, the Golden Gate 
such a river canyon. But as time went on, the valley sank until ocean 
waters came flooding through the Gate to submerge all but the peaks 
of its hills. Last of all in the long series of the earth's transformations 
from which emerged that part of the planet known as California was 
the Bay's creation. But the geologic upheavals destined to open the 
Golden Gate had begun long before. 

West of today's Pacific shore, perhaps 500 million years ago, rose a 
land mass extending into what is now the Pacific Ocean. Where the 
Sierra Nevada now rises is thought to have been a low land mass, 
lapped on the Nevada side by an inland sea. As the eons passed, this 
great basin sea advanced westward into California, retreated and ad- 
vanced again, until by 200 million years ago it may have reached as far 
as the site of Monterey well over toward that westward-lying coast 
along the ocean. 

Eventually the ocean itself found its way into the watery area that 
later was to become California. The western land mass probably was 
cut off from the mainland, forming an elongated island of which the 
present Farallon Islands were a part. Eastward lay a submerged trough, 
and into this trough sediment was continually draining from the island's 
slopes. To the incredible depth of over three miles the sediment was 
laid down in the water, slowly solidifying. From this trough was later 
elevated the San Francisco Peninsula, its foundations partly composed 
of the thick deposits which drained from the westward island. 

And then began that long series of geologic events which finally re- 
sulted in the emergence of the coastline of California. Between 120 and 
150 million years ago the ridges of both the Coast Range and the Sierra 
Nevada were pushed up. Unlike the Sierra Nevada, which was to 
maintain its general structure despite erosion, the Coast Range rose from 
the inland sea -only to sink again. At least three times the ocean en- 


gulfed the region between the Sierra Nevada and the westward island 
and advanced to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. 

At a point about 36 million years ago, the picture of California 
begins to emerge in clearer detail. On the eastern border is the wall of 
the Sierra, following about the same direction as in the twentieth cen- 
tury, but lower, less rugged, its slopes covered with luxuriant vegetation. 
Still under water, the center of the State is a great inland sound, extend- 
ing far enough westward to submerge the site of San Francisco. A long 
island stretches northwest from the present vicinity of Salinas. Islands 
are scattered in the sound. 

For many million years the geography of this California changed 
little; but great activity was brewing in the earth. Far offshore the 
bottom of the sea was sinking. As it sank, the land along the coast was 
thrust upwards, buckling under the pressure. All of California was 
rising, but the extra thrust upon its western edge caused a slip along 
which occurred a sidewise movement of at least 700 feet and possibly 
as much as 20 miles. Along this same fault, extending from Point 
Arena south to the Mojave Desert, there was to be a shift of about eight 
feet in the year A.D. 1906, which would cause a great disturbance in 
the city of San Francisco. (Because the rock mass is broken along the 
fault, any abnormal strain within the earth is apt to be taken up there; 
such movements occur frequently, but rarely displace the surface more 
than two-tenths of an inch.) The same thrusts that were to cause the 
San Francisco Peninsula's earthquake fault also helped to lift it above 
the sea. There was pronounced folding of the Coast Range at this 
time, not only on the Peninsula, but along the line of the Berkeley Hills. 

About one million years ago the Great Valley was becoming filled 
with sediment. Brackish water still covered part of the valley; it 
drained, not through the Golden Gate, which did not yet exist, but 
through various other outlets; one at the Russian River and another at 
Monterey Bay. The San Francisco-Marin area probably was separated 
from the mainland by marshes, so shallow that they could be crossed by 
the primitive elephant (whose fossils have been found near Menlo 
Park). The last great uplift raised the Sierra Nevada Range to a height 
of 4,000 feet above its present elevation ; the Coast Range shared in this 

Most recent of California's important geological events have been 
those which formed San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate. As the 
marshes along the coast and farther inland dried, continued folding in 
the Coast Range blocked off the drainage of the Great Valley through 
the Russian River and Monterey Bay, forcing the rivers to find another 
outlet. They converged in a new course through a canyon north of the 
Berkeley Hills at what is now Carquinez Strait, thence down through a 


valley, and finally through the mountains that extended up the San 
Francisco Peninsula and northward into Marin County. 

However solid the earth may have seemed beneath the feet of the 
first human inhabitants when they came (probably between 30 and 40 
centuries ago) to hunt game and pick wild fruit in the coastal valley 
behind the river's mouth, it was sinking imperceptibly. The sea cliffs to 
the west were tilting upward on their outer side; but every year the 
floor of the coastal valley was a little lower. As fast as the sea cliffs 
rose, the river scoured deeper its channel through them, thus gradually 
carving down the sides of the Golden Gate. Then finally came a time 
when the floor of the coastal valley sank beneath sea level. The ocean 
flooded through the mouth of the river over 400 square miles of the 
Indians' hunting ground. The land would go on sinking until the very 
shell mounds which the first settlers left behind them on dry land were 
lapped by the tides; and yet as it sank, the rivers would lay down their 
rich silt, torn from mountain sides and lowlands of the Central Valley 
basin, over the bottom of the Bay. So was made, for how long no one 
can tell, the harbor known today as San Francisco Bay. 


Midway in the great chain of mountain ridges that stretches along 
the continent's edge down the southeast-tending California coast is a 
narrow gap. Between its steep headlands the long Pacific rollers, break- 
ing in spray against the cliffs to north and south, pour in swift tides. 
As the headlands recede on either side, an expanse of water opens out, 
stretching eastward to low, gently sloping hills. To the north, wooded 
peaks rise steeply above bluffs close at hand; to the northeast, barren 
capes guard a distant strait. Southward a sheet of water extends farther 
than a man can see, between marsh-edged flat lands. Here, where ocean 
tides roll in over a valley long sunk below sea level, salt water mingles 
with fresh, is muddied with the yellow silt of rivers, pouring into the 
Bay's upper reaches. At either end, sloping valleys walled like the Bay 
between ranges of hills that parallel each other, east and west, spill their 
creeks into it. Among the encircling hills, sloughs and canyons twist to 
the water's edge. 

So well hidden from the sea beyond its narrow gateway by moun- 
tainous coastal walls that exploring navigators passed it by for more 
than two centuries, San Francisco Bay is one of the world's largest 
landlocked harbors. Measured along a straight line from the mouth of 
Sonoma Creek in the north to the mouth of Coyote Creek in the south, 
it is approximately 60 miles long and measures 14 miles at its greatest 
width. Its outlet to the sea, the Golden Gate, is three miles long and, 
at its widest point, a mile wide. In all, the Bay covers an area of a 


little more than 400 square miles. Although more, than 70 per cent of 
its area is less than 18 feet deep, it reaches a depth of from 100 to 140 
feet in its central part and of 357 feet in the main channel of the 
Golden Gate. North of its narrowest point, the strait between Points 
San Pedro and San Pablo where it is known as San Pablo Bay the 
water is shallower. 

Into San Pablo Bay empties the drainage of the valleys to the north 
and the hinterland to the east. Petaluma, Sonoma, and Napa Creeks 
pour in from the north. Through narrow Carquinez Strait, six miles 
long, joining San Pablo Bay with shallow Suisun Bay to the east, pour 
the combined waters of California's two great rivers, the Sacramento 
and the San Joaquin, which drain the Central Valley and the Sierra 
Nevada's western slopes. The gorge cut by the silt-laden river waters, 
winding out to sea through the succession of bays and straits, can be 
traced by the yellow stream that crosses the Bay's blue ripples. The 
river's ancient delta, built up through the ages before the ocean broke 
through the Golden Gate, has been traced as far out to sea as the 
Farallon Islands, 23 miles off Point Bonita. 

The peaks of low hills once rising from the drowned valley's floor 
are islands now. Opposite the Golden Gate, rocky Alcatraz (130 alt.) 
rises abruptly from the swift tides. Northward, divided by narrow 
straits from the coves and inlets of the Marin shore, rise green-clad 
Angel (782 alt.) and Belvedere (350 alt.). A little to the southeast 
the rugged hump of Yerba Buena (343 alt.) appears almost midway 
across the Bay. 

From opposite sides of the Golden Gate the sheer bluffs at land's end 
of the San Francisco and Marin Peninsulas face each other. The 
narrow hilly strip of the San Francisco Peninsula stretches 30 miles 
southward from the Golden Gate between Bay and ocean, tapering in 
width from 7 miles at its tip to approximately 21 where it merges with 
the mainland. On the Bay side it is bordered with mud flats and salt 
marshes; on the ocean, with rugged cliffs and sandy beaches. The tip 
of the Peninsula, walled off from the south by the steep narrow ridge of 
San Bruno Mountain (1,315 alt.), is a rough square with jagged out- 
lines, scored haphazardly by rocky hills and winding valleys, once a 
rolling waste of sand dunes and marsh-girt lagoons. In the center of 
this area rises a dominant crescent-shaped range, culminating in Twin 
Peaks (904 alt.), Mount Davidson (916 alt.), and Mount Sutro (909 
alt.). Southward spreads a zone of billowing hills, merging into San 
Bruno Mountain. Beyond troughlike Merced Valley, cutting from 
Bay to ocean parallel with San Bruno Mountain, the Peninsula is 
scored with parallel ridges running north and south among them, 
Buriburi Ridge (700 alt.), the Sawyer Ridge (about 1,200 alt.), and 
Montara Mountain (1,952 alt.). Between the Buriburi and Sawyer 


Ridges lies a 1 5-mile- long segment of the San Andreas Rift Valley, 
following the course of the San Andreas earthquake fault. Farther 
south the Santa Cruz Mountains, of which these Peninsula ridges are 
the northern offshoots, lift their wooded slopes to greater heights. Some 
80 miles from the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula they taper off into 
low hills where Monterey Bay cuts its crescent line into the coast. 

The Golden Gate is but a narrow break in the great mountain chain 
of the Coast Range, which continues northwest up the Marin Peninsula 
under the name of the Bolinas Ridge. An irregularly shaped, deeply 
and intricately dissected mountain mass, the Marin Peninsula is criss- 
crossed by ridges radiating from its highest point, at the southern end 
of the Bolinas Ridge Mount Tamalpais (2,604 alt.). The deep 
canyons that scar the flanks of the ridges widen into gently sloping 
valleys merging with salt marshes on the Bay side; on the ocean side 
they twist tortuously to the sea, where the hillsides end abruptly in 
sheer cliffs. Paralleling the Bolinas Ridge on the west is the long 
narrow valley which follows the course of the San Andreas fault. Its 
northern reaches are filled with the waters of marsh-bordered Tomales 
Bay, extending southeastward like a thin finger, laid along a line as 
straight as if it had been sheared off with a knife. To the west, hilly, 
triangular Point Reyes Peninsula juts into the ocean like a plowshare, 
sheltering behind its long promontory curving Drake's Bay with its 
white-faced cliffs like the chalk cliffs at Dover. East of the Marin 
Peninsula's hilly mass the flat reaches of Sonoma and Napa Valleys 
merge into tule marshes at the Bay's edge, divided from each other by 
the gentle slopes of the mountains. 

Along the Bay's eastern shore, beyond the narrow coastal plain, 
stretches the serrated skyline of the Berkeley Hills, culminating in Bald 
Peak (1,930 alt.) ; and behind, across a line of narrow, shallow valleys, 
rise the rugged crests of a parallel ridge culminating in Rocky Ridge 
(2,000 alt.). To the east, broad flat Ygnacio Valley extends north to 
the shores of Suisun Bay and south into the narrow, level San Ramon 
Valley. From the valley's edge steep slopes rise in long sweeping lines 
to the summit of Mount Diablo (3,849 alt.). To the south, San 
Ramon Valley meets narrow, 4O-mile-long Livermore Valley. Beyond, 
the ridges of the Mount Diablo Range extend to meet the Mount Ham- 
ilton Range, paralleling the Peninsula ridges and the Santa Cruz Moun- 
tains across the Bay. 

South of the Bay's southern tip, the fertile plains of the Santa Clara 
Valley extend for 70 miles between the walls of the Mount Hamilton 
(4,029 alt.) Range and the Santa Cruz Mountains, 15 miles apart a 
long, narrow extension of that same valley whose upper reaches, now 
submerged, are, the Bay itself. From the marshes of the Bay's southern 


end, the valley floor slopes upward gradually toward the south, where 
offshoots of the two mountain ranges curve inward and enclose it. 


The Bay of San Francisco and its shores share with the rest of the 
Coast the moderate climate which it owes chiefly to the prevailing winds 
off the Pacific. Because of the break in the coast line the region has a 
climate even milder than enjoyed elsewhere along the Coast, because it 
receives more than its share of ocean-cooled air currents, sucked in by 
forced draft through the Golden Gate. Their deflection in various 
directions by the hills gives contingent sections widely differing weather. 

At the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, the mean annual tem- 
perature is 56.4 F. ; the mean temperature of the coldest month, 
January, is 50 F. and of the warmest month, September, 61.5 F. But 
just northward across the Gate, mean temperatures are approximately 
five degrees lower in winter and five degrees higher in summer. Cold 
months are likewise colder and warm ones warmer on the eastern side 
of the Bay and down the Peninsula. The average annual rainfall at 
Kentfield in Marin County, less than 15 miles north of the Gate, is 
more than twice that of San Francisco 45.33 inches as against 21.85 
inches. South of the city, rainfall decreases progressively, reaching an 
average of 15 inches at San Jose. 

Although the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula enjoys sunshine for 
an average of 66 per cent of all the daylight hours in the year, it has 
acquired a more celebrated reputation for its fogs. They are of two 
principal varieties. Tule fog, a winter phenomenon, consists of low- 
hanging clouds of condensed vapor which drift about the Bay in serpen- 
tine fashion, sometimes blanketing completely one section of city or Bay 
while another is bright with sunlight. Most prevalent is the white fog 
which forms off the headlands on either side of the Golden Gate and 
drifts inland as the temperature rises inland in the warm valley section 
of the State. This fog forms in huge blankets, averaging about 1,700 
feet thick, sometimes shrouding the entire tip of the Peninsula and 
spreading across the Bay to its eastern shore. 

The Bay region, like most of the California coast, knows two seasons 
the wet and the dry and throughout much of the area the difference 
in average temperatures between them is seldom more than ten degrees. 
Even this slight difference is usually nullified by cooling breezes off the 
ocean which take the sting out of summer heat. At the tip of the San 
Francisco Peninsula early autumn is actually warmer than summer 
for summer is the season of fogs. Only the rains, which come between 
October and May, call more than momentary attention to the change 
in seasons. 


The temperature, rainfall, and even the winds follow predictable 
cycles, permitting residents to fall into a pattern of adaptations, less 
pronounced than those required by four seasons, but quite as regular. 
The weather's summer schedule is particularly dependable. A San 
Franciscan knows, almost to a certainty, that he will waken on a July 
morning in a world of light, bright fog and little wind. By noon the 
sun will be shining, and still will shine at midafternoon, though pres- 
ently it will be hidden by the billows of white vapor that tumble over 
the hills and through the Gate. Within an hour a stiff salt breeze will 
be driving this fog, like a band of frantic wraiths, through hills and 
valleys; but the wind will be dying and the fog dispersing by half past 
seven. With the lengthening of night will come a softness, lightness, 
and clarity in the air which makes sleep seem a dullard's habit. 


Simple and clear was the pattern of vegetation around San Fran- 
cisco Bay before the coming of the white man. Along the coast, in the 
region of greatest winter rain and heaviest summer fog, were the red- 
wood forests, extending almost without interruption from southern 
Oregon to San Francisco Bay and continuing south in canyons and other 
fog traps to the coast below Carmel. The grass and oak savannah 
extended eastward to the Sacramento Valley and along the floors of the 
principal inter-mountain valleys of the Coast Range. A thicket of low- 
growing chaparral clothed the interior ranges and the dry southern 
slopes. Fringing the Bay were marshes choked with tule rushes. 

Conspicuous changes have taken place in the outlines of the three 
major types of vegetation. Much of the forest has been replaced by 
grass, brush, or crops; the early grassland area is occupied by cultivated 
land. However, the region is fortunate to possess many game preserves, 
water districts, and other sections where natural conditions still prevail 
and many more that are being restored. The residents are making a 
start toward restriction of destructive lumbering, bad range manage- 
ment, poor fire control, and unregulated killing of game and fish. 

Typical virgin areas of forest are preserved in Muir Woods Na- 
tional Monument and Santa Cruz Redwood Park. Here are trees, 
many from 1,000 to 2,ooo years old, rising 300 feet or more with 
diameters of 12 to 1 6 feet. Their clean, gently tapering shafts, clothed 
with thick, purplish, massively fluted bark, rise uninterrupted by 
branches for approximately a third of their height. The foliage is deli- 
cate and feathery, but dense enough to keep perpetual twilight on the 
forest floor. Scattered among the great columns are smaller trees: 
broad-leaf maple, madrone, golden chinquapin, and California laurel. 
In separate stajids, usually along the ridges at the inner margin of the 


fog belt, is found the somber, massive Douglas fir. Forming close 
thickets are huckleberries, azaleas, rhododendrons, California buckthorn 
(the dried bark of which is medicinal cascara sagrada), salal, wild cur- 
rants and gooseberries, salmon- and thimble-berries, and elder. And in 
the damper shade, watered by the fog which the trees precipitate, 
Woodwardia and sword ferns give cover to mosses, dogtooth violets, 
true violets, wild ginger, redwood sorrel, trillium, fritillaria, clintonia, 
and the pungent yerba buena which gave San Francisco its first Spanish 

The redwood forest and its associated meadows and streams are 
particularly rich in animal life; raccoons, skunks, wild cats, woodrats, 
and weasels are fairly common. As is natural in so deep a forest, birds 
are not conspicuous. Those most often seen are the varied and hermit 
thrushes, quail, flycatchers, California tanagers, robins, various sparrows 
and warblers. 

The chaparral formation in California is remarkable, both for its 
high degree of development and for its numerous methods of adjustment 
to the long dry summers, wet winters, periodic fires, and intense sun- 
shine. Its root systems are often extensive; its leaves protect themselves 
from excessive evaporation by turning their broad surfaces away from 
the sun, by growing in small, needle-like shapes, and by resorting to 
other devices such as thick skins, coatings of fuzz, exudations of resin, 
and restriction in the number of "pores." Many typical shrubs have 
the ability to sprout after fires from the root's crown. Others seed 
profusely and grow vigorously in burnt-over soil. The most wide- 
spread members of the chaparral are the various species of ceanothus, 
used by the Indians for soap; manzanita, with white bell-like blossoms, 
red or chocolate bark, neat oval leaves; California buckeye, which 
blooms in heavy clusters and bears fig-shaped fruits; chamise (aden- 
ostoma) ; chaparral pea; many dwarf oaks; and yerba santa, with pale 
lavender flowers and leaves spotted with resin. 

The chaparral was the home of the extinct California grizzly and 
the now rarely seen California condor. Typical of both chaparral and 
grasslands are the brush rabbit, coyote, gray fox, various rats and mice, 
pocket gophers, and moles. Some of the more distinctive birds are the 
California jay, stellar jay, California thrasher, Anna hummingbird, 
house finch, mourning dove, and valley quail. Hawks, owls, and 
buzzards are very common. 

Formerly the savannah was covered with a thick sod of perennial 
grasses; today it is dominated by the aggressive annual wild oat, a 
Spanish importation. However, the spring still brings a flourishing 
abundance of California poppies, lupines, nemophilas, cream cups, 
brodiaea, owl's clover, Indian paintbrushes, irises, shooting stars, and 
many composites. 


One of the region's most interesting natural environments is the 
marshy border of the sloughs and estuaries where willows and cotton- 
woods grow. Wading birds are numerous; also the great blue heron, 
night heron, bittern, egret, and snowy egret. The estuaries, filled with 
tule rushes, are favorite nesting places for pelicans, coots and ducks, 
wrens, red-winged blackbirds, and many warblers. 

Along the seacoast too, there is a distinct community of wild life. 
Gulls, terns, cormorants, and brown and white pelicans congregate in 
numbers. Hair seals and sea lions are still abundant, though the fur 
seal has disappeared. 

Offshore, all along the Pacific Coast of North America, grow great 
beds of brown kelp, plants which in some cases are as large as redwood 
trees. This dense marine thicket provides shelter for a host of small 
fish, many of them valuable for food. Perch and rock and torn cod are 
typical species. Other ocean fishes found fresh in San Francisco mar- 
kets are sea bass, various flatfish, halibut, and salmon. Crab, abalone, 
clams, shrimp, and oysters (both native and planted) are the principal 
shellfish. Bay and river fishes include shad, steelhead, striped bass, 
and several species of native and imported trout. 

In 1940 the San Francisco Bay communities are as close as any urban 
area in the United States to primitive landscapes. At distances but 
little farther than city limits are forests, thickets of chaparral, and tule 
marshes, so wild that any explorer but the more experienced woodsman 
might easily imagine himself the region's first inhabitant. 

A Frontier to Conquer 

"The hills were wardens of the far-sought gold 
And streams were glad in valleys unprofaned . . ." 
GEORGE STERLING, The Homing of Drake 

FROM the chalk-white bluffs of the bay sheltered by Point Reyes, 
the coast-dwelling natives saw with amazement an immense ob- 
ject borne on billowing wings loom out of the mist at sea on June 
17 (Julian Calendar), 1579. The man whom they sent the next day 
to reconnoiter paddled back excitedly to tell of living beings, white of 
skin and bearded, aboard this apparition. Concluding that these visitors 
were no less than spirits returned from the dead, the Indians timorously 
kept their distance, prepared to make if necessary proper obeisance. 
For three days longer the spirits remained in their abode, which rested 
on the water, its wings folded. On the third day it moved in toward 
the shore, and the spirits landed. 

So came the first white men to set foot in the region of San Fran- 
cisco Bay men of Francis Drake's company in the Golden Hinde. They 
had left England a year and a half earlier in company with four other 
ships, bound round the world in the service of Queen Elizabeth to 
plunder the ships and cities of her enemy, Philip II of Spain. Now only 
the flagship remained. 

After two days ashore, they were visited by the awed inhabitants of 
the country, who brought gifts of feathers and tobacco. "This country 
our Generall named Albion" the chaplain wrote, both because "of the 
white bancks and cliffes" and in order that "it might haue some affinity, 
euen in name also, with our own country . . ." And before Drake's 
five weeks' stay had ended, he recorded further, "our Generall caused to 
be set vp a monument of our being there, as also of her maiesties and 
successors right and title to that kingdom ; namely, a plate of brasse, fast 
nailed to a great and firme post; whereon is engrauen her graces name, 
and the day and yeare of our arriuall there, and of the free giuing vp 
of the prouince and kingdom, both by the king and people, into her 
maiesties hands . . ." Thus having established his Queen's title to a 
new kingdom on the other side of the world, Francis Drake lifted 
anchor on July 23 and sailed away. The Indians were grief-stricken. 
As night fell, they lighted beacon fires on the hills. 




In the Indians' geography the only land that lay beyond the smooth 
disc of the Pacific Ocean was the island where dwelled their dead. The 
Bay itself was to them no "harbor," for their small tule rafts never 
carried cargoes out the Golden Gate. Even the pass through the Coast 
Range at Carquinez Strait, to which stagecoach and railroad, as surely 
as the rivers, finally were to gravitate, had no great importance to a 
fleet brown foot that daily climbed the mountain barrier for rabbits. In 
all those ways that the contours of the region were to influence the 
welfare of white inhabitants, the Indians were affected little. But for 
other reasons the Bay environment impressed its pattern upon them. 

It was the Bay that set the sleepy rhythm of the Indians' days. It 
determined, first, the location of their villages. A few groups lived on 
the ocean front and a few more on the banks of streams among the 
wooded hills, but most of them settled at the mouths of estuaries, on the 
Bay beaches. There the struggle for existence almost was reduced to 
reaching out a hand for supplies that the waters laid upon their door- 
steps : for mussels, soft-shell clams, and seaweed, and the driftwood used 
to cook them. The marine vertebrates swam so close to shore that the 
Indians could run into the waters and catch them a feat noted by 

In developing their handicrafts, the Indians were influenced by the 
abundance of tule grass in the marshes. They made no pottery, but 
from woody stems and fibers they constructed water-tight baskets, often 
decorated with shell beads, which they used as cooking utensils. Their 
houses were circular structures of poles usually tied together at the top 
and thatched with brush or tule matting. Rushes were used, too, for 
the short flaps worn as skirts by the women, though occasionally these 
garments were made of deerskin or of bark fiber. The men generally 
went entirely naked, except in the early morning when they sometimes 
plastered themselves with a coating of thick mud for warmth. 

On the basis of their crafts, mythology, or language, the California 
Indians can be classified in large groups, but such inter-relationships 
were involuntary. The intense particularism of local communities gave 
rise to marked variations, even between closely related groups. In small 
villages, usually comprising about 15 families each, lived the Indians 
of the Bay region. Each village claimed a well-defined territory with 
seasonal campsites reserved for its own use. If a deer hunt or a sum- 
mer wandering took its inhabitants as far as 50 miles, the racial brothers 
they encountered might be wholly alien to them and their dialects in- 
comprehensible. However, although they recognized no allegiance 
beyond that which they paid to their village chief, the peoples of the 
Bay region were all of one linguistic family, the Penutian. The greater 


part of the Bay area was occupied by the Costanoan, whose territory 
included the San Francisco Peninsula, the coast country as far south as 
Point Sur, and the eastern shores of the Bay as far inland as the Mount 
Diablo Range. North of the Bay, as far east as the Sonoma Valley 
and as far north as the Russian River, lived the Coast Miwok. East- 
ward, beyond the Sonoma Valley, the Wintun held the shores of San 
Pablo and Suisun Bays. 

Among all the peoples of the earth, no others are known who kept 
so long unchanged their ways of living and thinking. During the last 
30 to 40 centuries when western civilization was making its cyclical 
and labored rise, time stood still for the Bay Indians. Early white 
visitors remarked that these natives were squalid and listless. However, 
most such observers had seen them after the mission system had begun 
forcing upon them an alien civilization. In 1579 Drake's men had 
noted that the Miwok Indians handled their bows and arrows "very 
skilfully," that their spokesman was "using sich violent Gestures, and 
so strong a Voice, and speaking so fast that he was quite out of Breath," 
and that these Indians "run very swiftly, and long, and seldom go any 
other Pace. . . ." It was after 40 years of mission rule, in 1816, that 
the Frenchman Louis Choris described the apathy of the San Francisco 
Costanoan: "I have never seen one laugh. I have never seen one look 
one in the face." 

Apathetic though they may have seemed to white men who could 
not understand their failure to take up arms in their own defense, still 
they were not lacking in sensitivity, for they gave lyrical expression to 
their feeling for the environment in their mythology and songs. In the 
beginning, the Costanoan told each other, waters covered all of the 
earth except the summit of Mount Diablo. There lived a coyote, a 
humming bird, and an eagle, and as the waters receded these three, but 
chiefly Coyote, created the world. Their myths about Coyote's subse- 
quent adventures are a mixture of ribald humor and idealism. The 
Indians worshipped the sun with offerings, and held sacred the towering 
redwood trees. To the Coast Miwok, Mount Tamalpais, whose long 
eastward slope resembles the figure of a sleeping woman, was the human 
bride of the sun god, who fell from his arms as he was trying to carry 
her to his celestial world. When summer fog wrapped the figure, the 
Indians told each other that this was her fleecy blanket, made by the 
god from his tears. 

Even critical white observers found the Costanoan songs peculiarly 
pleasing. In some of them the singers tried to express the sensibilities 
of small woodland animals of the wood-rat, for instance: 

"I dream of you, 
I dream of you jumping. 
Rabbit, jack-rabbit and quail . . ." 


Apparently they were aware that their Bay and its peninsulas were the 
dramatic western boundary of a great land, for another of their songs 
began : 

"Dancing on the brink of the world . . ." 

Such imagery suggests that the native singers were not wholly 
apathetic and morose. When the white man came, to prove that their 
coast was not the world's brink and to put an end forever to the danc- 
ing, apathy may not have been the only reason they did not laugh. 


Grim, medieval Carlos V of Spain uncertain of his geography, but 
with his black eyes fixed on galleons bearing spices and treasure across 
the vast Pacific had ordered Hernando Cortez, in the course of the 
expedition on which he set forth in 1532, to "seek a natural port well 
north of New Spain" where "my navigators may find refuge, refit and 
rest." From such a safe harbor, far up the unexplored California coast, 
His Most Catholic Majesty had hoped that "they may then continue 
the voyage from Manila to Acapulco with a greater degree of safety 
from the enemies of my country." 

Spanish navigators required 227 years to carry out this royal decree; 
and even then, it was not his Majesty's sailors but rather his soldiers, led 
by Don Caspar de Portola, who early in November of 1769 first dis- 
covered the great landlocked anchorage now known as San Francisco 
Bay. Not even Portola, to whom the glory has gone, was the first 
actually to see that body of inland water large enough to contain "all 
the ships of Spain." From the summit of the Montara Ridge Don 
Caspar himself saw no more than the Gulf of the Farallones and, 
purple in the distance, the long headland which the navigator Sebastian 
Vizcaino, in 1603, had named Punta de los Reyes (Sp., King's Point). 
It fell to soldiers of his expedition whose names with one exception are 
unknown to look first on San Francisco Bay. 

Finding on the jagged shoreline no resemblance to the huge and 
sheltered bay described by Vizcaino in 1603, Portola's party had fol- 
lowed the shore of Monterey Bay without recognizing it to the mouth 
of the San Lorenzo River, present site of Santa Cruz. Pushing on 
through redwood trees, over ridges, arroyos, and creeks, they trudged 
past Half Moon Bay. Rising before them in the October rain they saw 
the rocky barrier of Montara Ridge, and at its base made their camp. 
The next day being clear, they surveyed from the summit of Point San 
Pedro the far-off purple cape of Point Reyes. 

Gazing at the distant headland christened in honor of the Three 
Wise Men of the East who had brought gold and frankincense and 


myrrh to the infant Jesus, Don Gaspar decided it might be worthwhile 
to search the intervening coastline for that Puerto de San Francisco 
which shipwrecked Cermeno had happened upon in 1595. Portola 
therefore put one of his scouts, Sergeant Jose Francisco Ortega, in 
charge of a party of ten, presumably to explore the region as far north 
as Point Reyes. 

Sergeant Ortega's little band of soldiers never reached their rather 
ambiguous goal. Precisely what they did, where they went, and what 
they saw are mysteries which still tantalize the imagination of his- 
torians. Some authorities have advanced the theory that Ortega's prog- 
ress northward was halted by the Golden Gate, for which reason he 
must have been the first to look into San Francisco Bay from the vicinity 
of Point Lobos. However probable, the theory is pure conjecture based 
mainly on the fact that the exploring party, in the three days it was 
given to accomplish its purpose, had sufficient time to traverse the 
Peninsula to its end. The diary kept by Padre Juan Crespi, chronicler 
of Portola's expedition, gives scant information on this vexing possi- 
bility. And his diary, overburdened as it is by the padre's preoccupa- 
tion with the needs of Portola's men suffering from scurvy and diarrhea, 
is the only reliable record of these events. 

The San Francisco Peninsula's abundance of roots, acorns, grass- 
hoppers, sparrows, and squirrels may have been responsible for the 
tameness of the aborigines, but it hardly served to supply the lack of 
red meat and green vegetables which had brought Portola's men to the 
point of starvation. It was therefore mainly a desperate abdominal 
urge which drove them on to some rather extensive exploration of the 
area around San Francisco Bay exploration which would later result 
in the establishment of the northernmost outpost of Spanish civilization 
in the New World. 

According to Padre Crespi's diary, which is corroborated by Miguel 
Costanso, Portola's engineer, the second exploring party was allotted 
four days for their itinerary and "their ration of flour to keep off hunger 
for that time." They started on the afternoon of November 7. On the 
night of November 10, wrote Crespi, "the explorers returned, very sad, 
and no longer believing in the report of the heathen, which they con- 
fessed they had not understood. They said that all the territory which 
they had examined to the northeast and north was impassable because 
of the scarcity of pasture and especially because of the ferocity and ill- 
temper of the heathen, who received them angrily and tried to stop their 
passage. They said also that they had seen another estuary of equal 
magnitude and extent with the one which we had in sight and with 
which it is communicated, but that in order to go around it one would 
have to travel many leagues; and that they saw no signs that might 


indicate the proximity of the port where it terminates, and that the 
mountains were rough and difficult." 

So well does Crespi's description apply to the contra costa (Sp., 
opposite shore), it is fairly obvious that this exploring party discovered 
San Pablo Bay, probably from the rugged shoreline of Pinole Point, at 
that time inhabited by the Wintun Indians, who later proved a menace 
to Spanish settlers north of San Francisco Bay. Their failure to report 
having seen the Golden Gate indicates that they may have travelled 
inland, possibly up the Moraga Valley. Certain it is that famished as 
they were, and presumably mounted on mules equally famished, they 
took the easiest route they could find. 

Discouraged by their inability to reach the entrance of what they 
still believed was the port of Monterey, in the vicinity of Point Reyes, 
Portola's expedition began the long trek homeward to San Diego. The 
whole course of their explorations had been determined by their first 
view of the Gulf of the Farallones, which tallied with Cabrera Bueno's 
description of the old Port of San Francisco, derived originally from 
reports of Spanish galleons dropping anchor there for wood and water 
some 200 years before. Even if they had been able to see the Golden 
Gate from Point San Pedro, however, it is doubtful that they would 
have followed a different course, so convinced were they that Point 
Reyes was the headland of a great arm of the sea extending inland east 
of the rocky peninsula shaped like a plowshare which lies between 
Bolinas Lagoon and Tomales Bay. 

Padre Junipero Serra, father superior of the Franciscan missionaries 
in California lean, ascetic, sometimes merciless, but a more efficient 
administrator than most secular representatives of Spain in the New 
World came north by ship the following year (1770) to establish a 
mission on Monterey Bay, discovered finally at the cost of a second 
expedition. Even before the founding of this future capital of Alta 
California, Serra had insisted that surely one of the projected missions 
in the territory should be dedicated to the patron saint of his order. To 
this the Visitador-General, Don Jose de Galvez, had answered dryly: 
"If St. Francis wants a mission, let him show us his port and we will 
found one." Now that Portola had been led by Divine Grace to St. 
Francis' port, it became an obvious duty to establish a mission there 
without delay. 

Hence, in the spring of 1772, Portola's young lieutenant, Pedro 
Fages, and Padre Crespi led a party of 12 soldiers from Mission San 
Carlos Borromeo (now Carmel Mission) to select a suitable site for 
the new mission near the entrance to what was now called the Port of 
Our Father St. Francis. The Fages expedition proceeded up the Salinas 
and Santa Clara Valleys, and northward around the eastern shore of 
San Francisco Bay. From the present site of Oakland, which they 


passed on March 27, they must have had a fair view of the Golden 
Gate. Next day, from the hills below which Berkeley now stands, they 
saw through the Golden Gate the peaks of the southeast Farallon 
Islands rising on the horizon. Though Costanso later claimed that 
Portola's men were the first to see the famous strait, the honor doubtless 
belongs to the Fages party. 

From the Richmond Hills the explorers travelled northward to the 
south shore of San Pablo Bay a few miles east of San Pablo Point and 
then eastward past Carquinez Strait to the present site of Martinez. 
They skirted Suisun Bay and followed the south bank of the San 
Joaquin River almost to where Antioch now stands. Finding the San 
Joaquin too wide to cross, the Fages party decided to return to Mon- 
terey. On their homeward journey they passed through the Pacheco 
Valley, west of Mount Diablo through the San Ramon Valley, and 
down through Alameda Canyon to the site of the future Mission San 
Jose. From their camp near the present village of Milpitas they con- 
tinued down the old trail to Monterey which, beaten by the pack trains 
of the explorers who came after them, was to extend the great Camino 
Real (Sp., King's Highway) from Mexico to the northernmost limits 
of the Spanish Empire. 

The new Spanish viceroy at Mexico City, farsighted Antonio 
Bucareli, was determined, at the risk of losing one of his clumsy little 
ships on the dangerous California coast, to settle for once and for all 
the question of San Francisco Bay. He therefore sent Lieutenant Juan 
Manuel de Ayala on the San Carlos with instructions to make a further 
survey of the Gulf of the Farallones. As darkness fell on August 5, 
1775, the San Carlos, having sent a launch ahead to find anchorage, 
sailed cautiously through the Golden Gate and anchored for the night. 
On August 7 it moved to a new anchorage on the north side of Raccoon 
Strait and a week later to another in Hospital Cove ofif Angel Island. 

The hardy band of settlers whom Juan Bautista de Anza led 
through incredible hardships all the way overland from Tubac in 
Sonora province had arrived on the present site of San Francisco with 
a platoon of soldiers and two priests by the time the San Carlos sailed 
a second time through the Golden Gate. With the assistance of the 
ship's carpenters and crew, Lieutenant Jose Joaquin Moraga's soldiers 
were able, on September 17, 1776, to raise the standard of Carlos III 
of Spain over the quarters of the comandante (commander) in the 
Presidio. The occasion was celebrated with a high mass, the firing of 
cannon, and the chanting of a fervent Te Deum. 

The opening and dedication of the new Mission San Francisco de 
Asis (later known as Mission Dolores) on the grass-clad slope near a 
small lake, dolefully named by the padres Laguna de los Dolores (Lake 
of Sorrows), was delayed until October 8, 1776 because of the absence 


of Moraga on an exploring expedition. Moraga's expedition observed 
the feast-day of Saint Francis by proving conclusively that the Golden 
Gate was the only entrance to San Francisco Bay. "At length," ex- 
claimed Padre Serra on his arrival at the new mission the following 
year, "our Father St. Francis has advanced the sacred cross ... to the 
very last extremity of California; to go further requires ships." 

Unfortunately, St. Francis' new mission lacked adjacent arable land. 
Anza's poverty-stricken settlers, and the few who came after them, soon 
found the fertile Santa Clara Valley to the south more suitable for them 
than the wind-swept, flea-infested sandy wastes of the area dedicated to 
their patron saint. Therefore, on January 12, 1777, the new Mission 
Santa Clara was founded down the peninsula. And three miles south 
of it arose the first purely civil settlement in California the pueblo 
(town) of San Jose. 

Before the close of the century two more Franciscan missions had 
been established in the Bay area: Mission Santa Cruz, on August 28, 
1791, and Mission San Jose de Guadalupe, on June n, 1797. The 
lands which reminded Anza's settlers of the fertile valleys of Valencia 
soon brought prosperity to these adobe outposts of Catholicism; their 
baptismal fonts grew muddy with the dirt of Indians saved from the 
wrath of God. Only by slow degrees, however, did the reluctant 
aborigines desert their mud huts and childlike savage habits for the 
adobe barracks, the lengthy prayers and hard work of the missions. 
Though the padres occasionally lost patience and punished petty crimes 
with rawhide when sweet words were of no avail, they did not generally 
ill treat their converts. On the whole the condition of the Indians was 
improved by their strange new masters in cassocks with shaved heads 
whose God hung nailed upon a cross. Of course, they learned to speak 
Spanish and did the manual labor of plowing and harvesting; they ex- 
celled in handicraft and later as herders of cattle and sheep. By 1800 
intermarriage had produced many mestizos (half-breeds) among the 
30,000 Indians converted by the Bay region missions. Within the fol- 
lowing decade, however, the neophytes were decimated by measles and 
smallpox epidemics. 

Alarmed by the catastrophic mortality, which was threatening the 
mission with extinction, the fathers transferred a number of neophytes 
to the more salubrious climate of the north Bay region. The experi- 
ment proved successful; the health of these invalids was greatly im- 
proved. On December 14, 1817, the asistencia (chapel) of San Rafael 
was founded at the present site of the town of San Rafael. Young 
Padre Jose Altimira planned a more radical solution to the problem, 
namely, complete abandonment of Mission Dolores and transference of 
its neophytes along with those at San Rafael to a new mission at Sonoma. 
Accordingly Mission San Francisco Solano was founded in 1823 with- 


out, however, the authorization of church dignitaries, who objected. A 
compromise was reached, permitting the new mission and Mission 
Dolores and San Rafael as well to remain. It was to be the last mission 
founded in Alta California. 

Even after the outbreak of the Napoleonic wars, when trade with 
foreigners was declared illegal, alcaldes (mayors) and comandantes 
averted their eyes from the illicit traffic with American whalers and 
traders who brought oil, tea, textiles, silk, and household utensils in 
exchange for hides and agricultural products piled up in the storehouse 
of the missions. Rezanof's unromantic followers who settled around 
Fort Ross on Bodega Bay, and whom Governor Pablo de Sola dis- 
trusted, were being welcomed to Yerba Buena Cove with urbane polite- 
ness in 1821 while the viceregal regime in Mexico City was being 
overthrown. The interregnum of General Agustin Iturbide's regency, 
immediately succeeded by the short-lived Empire of Mexico, passed 
almost unobserved by the Emperor's subjects in Alta California; and 
news of the institution of a republican regime, which reached the terri- 
tory in January, 1824, was received without much enthusiasm. At Mis- 
sion Dolores, Father Estenaja delivered a sermon praising the constitu- 
tion of the new Republic of Mexico and said a mass for its future 
greatness. The Presidio guns were fired, a few cheers went up; and 
when the echoes of the celebration had died away across the great Bay, 
the straggling settlement relaxed into its accustomed siesta. 


The Bay region, despite a half century of misrule that combined 
paternalism with neglect, had attained economic independence when on 
March 26, 1825, Alta California formally was declared a province of 
the Mexican Republic. The decade which would elapse before the 
secularization of the missions was to witness the heyday of Hispano- 
Mexican colonization on the Pacific Coast. 

Mission San Jose in 1825 owned 62,000 head of cattle, as many 
sheep, and other livestock; in 1828 Mission Santa Clara had, besides 
other livestock, 14,500 head of cattle and 15,500 sheep. Mission 
Dolores' economic importance was, however, eclipsed by the cove of 
Yerba Buena to which the Bay area missions and ranchos brought their 
produce in oxcarts for trade with foreign ships. Besides their great 
herds, which furnished the hides and tallow sought by European and 
American traders, the missions owned vast fields planted in wheat and 
maize and other crops primarily for domestic consumption. Cloth, a 
coarse kind of serge, was woven from wool; and the aguardiente 
(brandy) distilled from the vineyards of Mission San Jose was the 
delight of foreign visitors. The missions, designed originally to form 


the nuclei of pueblos and intended to relinquish control of their Indian 
convert-citizens to the civil authority, had become so wealthy by 1830 
that they were reluctant to fulfill a destiny which would deprive them 
of their power. 

This system of monastic feudalism was likewise perpetuated by the 
vast ranchos, ranging from one-half to more than sixteen square leagues 
(a league being equal to about 4,438 acres), granted by Spanish gov- 
ernors to soldiers of the Portola and Fages expeditions. During the 
years of Mexican rule grants were also made to Americans and other 
foreigners who showed a disposition to settle the country in a neigh- 
borly manner. Rancho San Antonio, the 48,ooo-acre domain within 
whose former boundaries now stand the cities of Alameda, Albany, 
Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont, and San Leandro, and Las 
Pulgas (the fleas), the 35,ooo-acre rancho granted in 1795 on which 
stand almost as many Peninsula towns, were typical of these feudal 
estates. Here, in their adobe ranch houses, the lordly dons entertained 
friends and relatives with lavish hospitality. They were grateful for 
the luxuries brought to Yerba Buena Cove by foreign traders whose 
followers would one day dispossess them. 

When the missions were secularized about 1834, the great land- 
owners came into possession of most of the mission lands and of their 
Indian charges as well. The plan had been that the mission communities 
should be organized as towns, enough land set aside for the support of 
the clergy, and the surplus divided among the Indians. But to the 
administrators appointed by the government, rather than to the Indians, 
went the greater part of the flocks and herds and grain fields. Relieved 
from the discipline of the monks, the freed neophytes were the easy 
prey of gamblers and thieves. Without any direction, spiritual or eco- 
nomic, they became scattered on the great ranches whose owners under 
Mexican grants were getting control of the best of the lands in the coast 
valleys. All the while tuberculosis and smallpox and a declining birth 
rate were steadily reducing their numbers. The state of affairs at the 
Mission Dolores was typical. The pueblo did not develop into a pros- 
perous town. Padre Rafael de Jesus Moreno pointed out that the 
commissioner was acting for his own advantage rather than for the 
good of the Indians. Likewise there were charges and countercharges 
at Santa Clara, San Jose and the other missions around the Bay. All of 
them fell into neglect and decay. There were only 50 Indians at San 
Francisco when the French explorer and scientist, Duflot de Mofras, 
was there in 1841. 

International rivalries meanwhile were shaping the future of Alta 
California and the Bay area. Fort Ross, less than 100 miles north of 
the Bay, was developing into something more formidable than an out- 
post of Russian hunters of seal and sea otter who chased their prey from 


the Farallon Islands right into San Francisco Bay. Representatives of 
Britain's Hudson's Bay Trading Company, who came to make surveys 
of the Boy region and to twit the comandante of Yerba Buena's 
presidio on the sad state of his defenses, had a knowing political gleam 
in their eyes. 

Least suspect of all were the Americans. Unlike some other for- 
eigners settling in the Bay region, they assumed no official character 
which could be construed as representing aggressive designs on the part 
of the United States. The majority of Yankee immigrants, in fact, 
adopted unhesitatingly the religion and customs of the Mexicans; they 
renounced their American citizenship and married into leading Mexican 
families. Not for some years after the first trappers had begun to cross 
the Sierra were the Yankees regarded by Mexican authorities with 
suspicion such as the Russian incursion into the Bay area had received 
since 1812. 

Secure behind their stockades and twelve brass cannons at Fort Ross, 
the Russians ignored repeated orders to leave the country. As early as 
1817 Governor Pablo Vicente de Sola had reported to his superiors in 
Mexico City that he could not drive them out with the forces at his 
command, whose weapons were effective only against Indians armed 
with bows and arrows. Now that Mexico was an independent nation 
she no longer had protection from the Spanish navy, and no supply ships 
had arrived at Yerba Buena since 1811. Captain William Shaler, 
describing San Francisco Bay in 1805, found the entrance defended only 
"by a battery on which are mounted some brass pounders, which afford 
only the show of defense ; and the place could make no resistance against 
the smallest military force . . ." The Castillo de San Joaquin, here 
described, was not improved by subsequent decades of neglect. 

Whether or not the provincial authorities recognized the fact, from 
1823 onward the American government had entered into the long-range 
struggle of world powers for control of Alta California. Concern over 
Russian inroads into the Bay region prompted Andrew Jackson's ad- 
ministration to undertake negotiations with the Mexican government 
for acquisition of Alta California. What "Old Hickory" had his eye 
on was that portion of Mexican territory north of the 37th parallel, 
including San Francisco Bay, which had been described to him as "a 
most desirable place of resort for our numerous whaling vessels ... in 
the Pacific, far superior to any to which they now have access." The 
$3>5OO,ooo which Jackson offered Mexico's President Santa Anna was, 
however, refused; and the American government's subsequent attempts 
to bring the Mexicans to terms met with no better success. 

American citizens meanwhile were far from idle. From frontier 
settlements in Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee, trappers and fur 
traders in coonskin caps and greasy buckskin had been threading their 


way across the plains and mountains of the West. First of these restless 
Yankees to reach Alta California by an overland route was Jedediah 
Smith. In the fall of 1826 this "Pathfinder of the Sierras" had opened 
the way for American settlement of the Sacramento and San Joaquin 
Valleys. That his presence in the Bay region was unwelcome is ap- 
parent from the fact that, on his arrival at Mission San Jose, Padre 
Narciso Duran locked him in an outhouse; and upon his release Gov- 
ernor Jose Maria de Echeandia gave him two months to get his fur 
traders out of the country. 

The feudal rancheros had no great interest in encouraging trade 
and industry, but under Governor Jose Figueroa's liberal regime San 
Francisco Bay was declared a port of entry and, in 1835, the pueblo of 
Yerba Buena was laid out on the cove. Appointment of a harbormaster 
and lifting of restrictions on trade with foreign shipping opened for the 
Bay area a decade of friendly relations between Mexicans and Yankee 
settlers which might eventually have resulted in peaceful annexation of 
California by the United States. The appointment of Thomas O. 
Larkin as United States Consul to Alta California in 1843 was made, 
apparently, to encourage the Californios to sever their ties with Mexico 
and seek protection under the American flag. 

The loss of Texas to Sam Houston's rebellious settlers in 1836 left 
the regime in Mexico City in too perilous a state to cope with the 
political intrigue among its representatives in Alta California ; and some 
of these began to depend upon certain foreign elements in the province 
to maintain their despotic rule against rival officials and a citizenry 
from which arose the rumblings of revolt. Their most powerful aide 
in the vicinity of the Bay area was Johann Augustus Sutter, Swiss immi- 
grant and adventurer extraordinary, who had established a settlement 
in the Sacramento Valley. At Sutter's Fort were welcomed the Amer- 
ican immigrant trains whose oxcarts came straggling down through 
passes in the high Sierra after 1841. 

In 1841, when the Russians decided to withdraw from Fort Ross, 
Sutter had acquired all their territory around Bodega Bay. In return 
for assisting General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, comandante of 
Sonoma, to disperse the roving brigands which General Manuel Michel- 
torena brought with him from Mexico when he came to displace Gov- 
ernor Juan Bautista Alvarado at Monterey in 1842, the redoubtable 
Sutter was left unmolested to play off one rival official against another. 
Even when this "Lord of the Marches" threatened to "proclaim Cali- 
fornia a Republic independent of Mexico" if he were not given leave 
to do as he pleased, Vallejo dared not break off friendly relations with 
him. He wrote unhappily at the time, when American immigration was 
filling the Bay area with Yankee settlers, that "the only certainty is 
that Californfans will die," and again, "I dare not assure myself that 


California will be saved." He drew what consolation he could from the 
fact that Sutter had prevented further encroachment of the British Hud- 
son's Bay Company and kept his political rival, Juan Bautista Alvarado, 
at a safe distance; but he saw the Americans taking over the country. 

When the first overland party from Missouri arrived at the ranch 
of Dr. John Marsh near Mount Diablo in November 1841, they were 
permitted to settle unmolested. Governor Micheltorena had orders to 
put a stop to all immigration; but his disreputable army had made him 
unpopular and he was dependent on American support to put down the 
conspiracies of rival officials who openly defied his authority. Further- 
more, the crafty Alvarado had left the treasury of the province empty ; 
and the secularization of the missions in 1834 na d already destroyed 
the source of funds by which presidio garrisons had been maintained. 
To aggravate this precarious situation even more, the American and 
British consuls in Monterey were keeping their respective governments 
informed of the events leading to a crisis in which intervention of some 
sort would decide the future of the territory. 

Such was the state of affairs in California and the Bay region when, 
in December 1845, Captain John Charles Fremont entered the prov- 
ince. As United States topographical engineer in command of two 
previous expeditions sent to survey California's natural resources, Fre- 
mont was received on January 27, 1846 in Monterey without serious 
misgivings by Mexican authorities, who gave him permission to obtain 
supplies pending his promised departure into Oregon. Little more than 
a month later, however, Fremont's followers joined him near San Jose, 
marched across the Santa Clara Valley and through the Santa Cruz 
Mountains, and camped near Monterey. 

Promptly ordered to leave the country, Fremont made a show of 
resistance, swearing that "if we are hemmed in and assaulted we will 
die, every man of us under the flag of our country." Being neither 
hemmed in nor assaulted, Fremont's party withdrew up the Sacramento 
Valley to Sutter's Fort and proceeded north toward Oregon. His mar- 
tial depredations caused Larkin to petition Consul John Parrott at 
Mazatlan to send a warship to Monterey. 

Whether acting on secret orders received from the United States 
State Department or on his own initiative, Fremont suddenly retraced 
his steps and set up headquarters at Marysville Buttes in the Sierra foot- 
hills. From here a party of about a dozen Yankee hunters and trappers 
in command of Ezekiel Merritt, a settler from Rancho Barranca 
Colorado (Red Bluff) was ordered by Fremont to seize 170 horses 
being taken from Sonoma to Santa Clara by a party of Castro's men. 
The captured animals having been delivered to Fremont's new camp on 
the Bear River, Merritt's party of 20 marauders crossed the hills into 
Napa Valley, where they were joined by 12 or 13 recruits. 


At daybreak on June 14, General Mariano G. Vallejo in his house 
at Sonoma was roused without warning by this little band of men and 
called upon to surrender. Somewhat puzzled, but courteous as always, 
he invited them in. On being informed that they were acting under 
Fremont's orders, he proceeded to wine and dine his callers to the 
point of stupor while terms of surrender were being discussed. At 
length the captors were able to agree on a declaration to which three 
of them put their names Ezekial Merritt, Robert Semple, and William 
Fallon. They presented it to Vallejo: "We, the undersigned having 
resolved to establish a government upon republican principles, in con- 
nection with others of our fellow-citizens, and having taken up arms to 
support it, we have taken three Mexican officers as prisoners: Gen. M. 
G. Vallejo, Lieut. Col. Victor Prudhon and Capt. Salvador Vallejo." 
But dissension then broke the ranks of the insurrectionists, frightened 
by the magnitude of their exploit. William B. Ide, a Yankee settler 
with the gift of oratory, saved the day. Cried he: "I will lay my bones 
here before I will take upon myself the ignominy of commencing an 
honorable work and then flee like cowards, like thieves, when no enemy 
is in sight. In vain will you say you had honorable motives. Who will 
believe it? Flee this day, and the longest life cannot wear out your 
disgrace! . . . We are robbers, or we must be conquerors!" 

Taking possession of the pueblo without opposition, the rebels im- 
patiently hauled down the Mexican flag. It occurred to them that a 
new flag was needed to replace it. On a piece of homespun to which 
was attached a strip of red flannel they painted a red star and the 
crude figure of a grizzly bear. "My countrymen," orated Lieutenant 
Henry L. Ford as the new standard was hoisted up the flagpole, "we 
have taken upon ourselves a damned big contract." But the insurgents' 
chosen leader, William B. Ide, who promptly dubbed himself "Com- 
mander-in-chief" and later "President of the California Republic," was 
undaunted. He invited "all peaceable and good citizens of Califor- 
nia ... to repair to my camp at Sonoma, without delay, to assist us in 
establishing and perpetuating a Republican government, which shall 
secure to all civil and religious liberty, which shall encourage virtue 
and literature ; which shall leave unshackled by fetters, agriculture, com- 
merce and manufactures." 

Though Fremont would admit no direct responsibility for the "Bear 
Flag" rebellion, he ordered the arrest of Jacob Leese, Vallejo's brother- 
in-law, because he was a "bad man"; and according to Leese's account, 
he also threatened to hang Sutter for demanding that consideration be 
shown a man of Vallejo's pro-American sympathies. It was generally 
assumed, by both Yankee settlers and Califomios in the Bay region, 
that Fremont was in command of a movement to seize the territory. 

General Castro, learning of the affair at Sonoma, sent a force of 


50 or 60 men under Joaquin de la Torre to attack the "Bears." March- 
ing northward from San Rafael, De la Torre's contingent was joined 
by Juan Padilla's roving bandits. On the morning of June 24, 1846, 
the California* were attacked at the Olompali Rancho near Petaluma by 
17 or 1 8 men under Lieutenant Henry L. Ford. After a charge in 
which one of De la Torre's men was killed and several wounded by 
Ford's riflemen, the Calif ornios retired and the Americans returned to 

Until this first battle of the war Fremont had taken no open part 
in the events which his presence doubtless had precipitated. Now, 
however, as he says in his Memoirs, "I have decided that it was for me 
to govern events rather than to be governed by them. I represent the 
Army and the Flag of the United States." Furthermore he realized 
that "at last the time had come when England must not get a foothold; 
that we must be first. I was to act, discreetly but positively." And 
act he did, though neither he nor his Mexican opponents were as yet 
aware that their respective countries were already at war below the 
Rio Grande. 

Arriving at Sonoma on June 25, Fremont assumed command of the 
Bears and with a combined force of 130 men marched to meet De la 
Torre's detachment at San Rafael. Here occurred an incident which 
ever since has blemished Fremont's reputation. This was the murder 
of three innocent Californios the twin sons of Yerba Buena's first 
alcalde, Francisco de Haro, and old Don Jose Berryesa, father of the 
alcalde of Sonoma who was then among Fremont's prisoners at Sutter's 
Fort. On being informed by Kit Carson that these three were about 
to land from a boat at Point San Pedro, Fremont is reported to have 
said : "I have no room for prisoners." Kit Carson, G. P. Swift, and 
one of Fremont's trappers shot down the three unarmed men. 

Outnumbered and badly armed, De la Torre's forces fled across the 
Bay to join Jose Castro's at Santa Clara. Following Fremont's raid 
on the old Castillo de San Joaquin, Dr. Robert Semple, participant in 
the Bear Flag affair at Sonoma, led ten men on a foray into Yerba 
Buena which captured Robert Ridley, ex-factor of the local Hudson's 
Bay Company post. 

After thus putting down all military resistance of the Californios 
in the Bay region Fremont returned to Sonoma to declare the inde- 
pendence of California and place the country under martial law for 
the duration of the conflict. While continuing "in pursuit of Castro" 
in the valley of the Sacramento (actually Castro already had begun his 
retreat southward from Santa Clara), Fremont received news that the 
United States naval commander on the Pacific Coast, Commodore John 
D. Sloat, had raised the American flag at Monterey and had ordered 
the U.S.S. Portsmouth to do likewise at Yerba Buena. Thenceforth 


the Bay region heard only distant rumblings as the Yankee invasion 
progressed southward with mild skirmishes in the Salinas Valley, to end 
at last in a decisive victory for the Americans at San Gabriel, January 
8-9, 1847- 

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 2, 1848, gave Cali- 
fornia to the United States. The Bay region's Bear Flag war was only 
an incident in the hasty transfer of a vast territory from one nation 
to another. But it marked the beginning of a new era, and the end 
of an old one. And Jose Castro himself, comandante-general of the 
forces of the north in the struggle of the Calif ornios against the Yankee 
invaders, foresaw in some degree what that new era would be like 
when he told an assembly at Monterey: "These Americans are so con- 
triving that some day they will build ladders to touch the sky, and 
once in the heavens they will change the whole face of the universe 
and even the color of the stars." 

Emporium of a New 

". . . San Francisco . . . the sole emporium of a new world, 
the awakened Pacific . . " 


HARDLY had the dead hand of Mexican rule been lifted from 
the Bay region when the Gold Rush struck it like a hurricane. 
The thousands who flocked to the shores of San Francisco 
Bay in 1848 at first asked little. But when the excitement died down 
the little gold frontier town had become a city, and its people demanded 
much: wharves, and dry paved streets; homes and stores, with firm 
foundations on which to build them; and a transportation system that 
would encompass not only the land about the Bay, but the Bay itself. 
Almost overnight the fleet of steamers and sailing ships which glutted 
with the manufactured products of Eastern merchants the wharves of 
San Francisco, Stockton, and Sacramento established the Bay's mari- 
time supremacy on the Pacific Coast. 

Mining camps developed into towns and cities amid the rich agri- 
cultural lands of the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys; and around 
the old pueblos of San Jose and Santa Clara the vast ranches of the 
Mexicans and Spaniards became orchards, fields, and vineyards. From 
these, and from the soil of Sonoma County, from Napa Valley and 
from the counties of the contra costa, would come the "green gold" 
which a vast system of canneries and packing houses now prepares for 
distribution all over the world. To supply this populous hinterland 
with commodities, and to bring down to the harbors of the Bay its tons 
of exports, a network of railroads and highways, bridges .and improved 
inland waterways had to be established. Throughout almost a century 
Bay region industrialists, farmers, and shippers have had to struggle 
with problems of engineering to overcome deficiencies in an area other- 
wise ideally suited to the building of prosperous communities and metro- 
politan centers. 

For all its magnificence and its utility, San Francisco Bay was, 
until completion of its two great bridges, an obstacle to transportation 
which prevented development of large sections of Marin County; and 
it isolated the industrial centers of the East Bay from financial and 
distribution facilities of San Francisco. Phenomenally rapid as its 
progress has been, this new unity, which engineering has accomplished, 
assures a future of more intense and orderly development for all com- 
munities of the Bay region. 



Today, the San Francisco Bay region is the market place and work- 
shop for a population of nearly 2,000,000 people a great harbor ringed 
with factory smokestacks, sheltering vessels from all ports of the globe, 
terminus of transcontinental railroads and airlines and home base of 
the Pacific Clippers flying to the Orient. Ranking second in value of 
water-borne commerce of all United States ports, the San Francisco 
Bay area has become the Pacific Coast's largest distribution center and 
the West's financial capital. Among 30 industrial areas of the Nation, 
it ranked sixth as a manufacturing center, with an industrial output 
of more than $800,000,000 in 1935. Its wholesale trade volume of 
$*> 353,7 J O for the same year was larger than the value of its water- 
borne commerce; and the value of its retail trade was half as large. 


John Masefield's "dirty British coaster with salt-caked smokestacks" 
is but one of the myriad craft, from nations all over the world, which 
have come and gone through the Golden Gate since Lieutenant Manuel 
de Ayala's little San Carlos first dropped anchor in San Francisco Bay 
in 1775. Across the racing tides of that narrow channel have swept 
the white sails of the clipper ships that brought the Argonauts ; through 
it have steamed sidewheelers and modern freighters, sleek liners and 
palatial yachts, naval armadas and army transports; and casting brief 
shadows of the future upon it, and upon the mighty bridge which spans 
the strait, the silver wings of clipper planes go soaring out across the 

The pioneer Pacific Mail Steamship Company's i,ooo-ton side- 
wheeler, California, already had sailed from New York for the Pacific 
Coast by way of Cape Horn, with no passengers, when the news of 
the discovery of gold in California reached the East. When the Cali- 
fornia anchored at Panama on January 30, 1849, she found hundreds 
of frenzied gold-hunters who had made their way across the Isthmus 
awaiting her. On February 28, topheavy with several times her capacity 
of loo passengers, she steamed through the Golden Gate the first 
vessel to round Cape Horn under her own steam and sail into the Bay 
of San Francisco. Pacific Mail promptly hurried completion of two 
sister ships; but these were not enough. Its fleet rapidly grew to 29 
steamships destined to carry 175,000 people to San Francisco within 
:a decade. 

During the height of the Gold Rush, however, demand so far out- 
distanced supply in the maritime industry that chaos reigned, retarding 
for several years development of regular and systematic commercial 
facilities. The rapid increase in population from about 860 to almost 
42,000 by the end of 1852 in San Francisco alone brought a wide and 


insistent demand for manufactured goods, tools, machinery and food 
products which undeveloped local industry could not supply. Eastern 
shippers, without accurate knowledge of local requirements, sent tons 
of merchandise for which San Francisco could find no use. The market 
was glutted ; prices crashed ; goods of every description were left to rot 
in the holds of ships, on the wharves, and in the city streets. Fully as 
demoralizing to maritime commerce was the wholesale desertion of 
ship's crews, who joined the wild rush to the mines. San Francisco 
Bay in the early fifties presented a sight seldom seen in the history of 
the world: a veritable forest of masts rising from hundreds of aban- 
doned ships. 

With the gradual stabilization of trading conditions, however, mari- 
time commerce was revived until the rapid increase in shipping made 
necessary the immediate building of extensive piers and docking facilities. 
Prior to the Gold Rush all cargoes had been lightered ashore in small 
boats, usually to the rocky promontory of Clark's Point at the foot 
of Telegraph Hill. When in the winter of 1848 the revenue steamer 
James K. Polk was run aground at the present intersection of Vallejo 
and Battery Streets at that time part of the water front the narrow 
gangplank laid from deck to shore was considered a distinct advance 
in harbor facilities. The brig Belfast was the first vessel to unload at 
a pier: she docked in 1848 at the newly completed Broadway Wharf a 
board structure ten feet wide. Others were soon built. By October 
1850, 6,000 feet of wharfage had been constructed at a cost of $1,000,- 
ooo. As the tidal flats were filled in, the piers were extended: Com- 
mercial Wharf, at first extending only 30 feet into waters only two 
feet deep, became Long Wharf as it was lengthened to 400 feet to pro- 
vide docking facilities for deep water shipping. 

During the boom years of the 1 850*5 competition between Eastern 
shippers became so sharp that a type of sailing vessel faster than the 
old schooners and barques constructed on the lines of whaling ships 
had to be built. Between 1850 and 1854, J 6o fast clipper ships were 
launched on the Eastern seaboard to supply the demand for speed and 
more speed to the Pacific Coast. 

"On to the mines" was the order of the day for both passengers and 
cargoes landed on San Francisco's water front. The fastest way to the 
mines was by water through San Pablo Bay, Carquinez Strait, and 
Suisun Bay, and up the San Joaquin River to Stockton, or up the Sacra- 
mento to the town named for it. The first steamboat in the Bay, the 
37-foot sidewheeler Sitka, imported in sections from the Russian settle- 
ment at Sitka, Alaska, and reassembled, had already attempted the trip 
to Sacramento, requiring six days and seven hours. Vessels better 
equipped for the journey were soon imported. Meanwhile, lighter craft 
were pressed into traveling service. Since 1835, when William A. 


Richardson had begun operating two 3Oton schooners with Indian 
crews to transport the produce of missions and ranches from San Fran- 
cisco and San Jose to trading vessels anchored in the Bay, a variety of 
small vessels had plied the waters inside the Golden Gate. In 1850 
Captain Thomas Gray's propeller steamer Kangaroo began the first 
regular run, twice weekly, between San Francisco and San Antonio 
Landing (now Oakland) in the East Bay. On September 2, 1863, the 
San Francisco and Oakland Railroad Company, first in the Bay region, 
began running the Contra Costa six times daily from its Oakland 
wharf to Broadway Wharf in San Francisco; and the following year, 
the San Francisco and Alameda Railroad Company inaugurated train- 
ferry service from Alameda Wharf with the Sophie McLane. At the 
Alameda Wharf, on September 6, 1869, the steamer Alameda took on 
the first boatload of passengers arriving on the Pacific Coast by trans- 
continental railroad. 

After the opening of ferry slips at the two-mile Oakland Long 
Wharf in 1871 and at a new San Fransisco passenger station at the 
foot of Market Street four years later, the ferry fleet grew rapidly in 
size. In 1879 the world's largest ferry, the Solano, began transport- 
ing whole railroad trains across Suisun Bay from Benicia to Port Costa. 
The ferry system was extended until by 1930 the 43 boats operating 
between San Francisco and Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Sausalito, and 
Vallejo comprised the largest transportation enterprise of its kind in the 
world; in that year they carried a total of more than 40,000,000 pas- 

The lifting of the Mexican regime's restrictive measures against 
foreign trading brought the Pacific whalers to San Francisco. As early 
as 1800, whaling vessels had begun to anchor in sheltered Richardson's 
Bay, then known as Whaler's Bay, off the site of Sausalito, where they 
took on wood and water. The first captain of the port, shrewd William 
A. Richardson, had collected fees for piloting the whalers to their 
anchorage. But Mexican regulations and tariffs forced the whaling 
industry to base its operations in the Sandwich Islands. After Ameri- 
can occupation, San Francisco merchants, foreseeing profits to be gained 
from yearly outfitting of the whalers and their crews, made hardy efforts 
to center the industry here. They succeeded to such an extent that by 
1865 a total of 34 whalers, with a combined tonnage of 11,000 tons,, 
anchored in the Bay. 

As late as 1888, San Francisco was still Pacific Coast whaling head- 
quarters. But the whaling fleet dwindled rapidly after 1900 as tug- 
boats for pursuit ("killer" ships) and steam-driven processing plants 
(factory ships) supplanted sailing vessels until in 1938 the California 
Whaling Company, sole survivor in the industry, called in for the last 
time its remaining ships. 


Within two decades after the building of its first wharf, the tip of 
the San Francisco Peninsula was saw-toothed with piers. The water 
front had been pushed into the Bay as the shallow waters of Yerba 
Buena Cove were filled in. In 1873, two years after control of the 
San Francisco water front had been acquired by the State, the con- 
struction of a great sea wall was begun by the State Board of Harbor 
Commissioners; and in 1878, the aoo-foot wide Embarcadero was laid 
out. San Francisco's great era of maritime commerce was entering into 
the full stride of its phenomenal development. 

While shovels and picks and gold pans rusted in thousands of back 
yards, the State turned from gold mining to agriculture and manufac- 
turing. Sacramento and Stockton, great mining centers during the 
Gold Rush, became agricultural capitals of northern California. The 
two great rivers sweeping inland to these cities became arteries of com- 
merce. Barges and river boats stopped at numberless docks and land- 
ings to pick up the diversified products of the rich land that swept for 
miles on either side of the broad rivers. And the products of the great 
agricultural hinterland, flowing into San Francisco Bay, contributed 
heavily to its export trade. From 1860 to 1875 exports from San 
Francisco grew in value from $8,532,439 to $33,554,o8i. By 1889 
the figure had increased to $47,274,090 and imports had grown corre- 
spondingly in value. 

The era of the clipper ships, which had abandoned the San Fran- 
cisco run and entered the China trade, had given way to a new phase 
of shipping which called for the transport of heavy industrial products 
and for the expansion of foreign trade. Successors to the clipper ships 
were square-rigged sailing vessels, sturdily built, with spacious holds, 
for carrying heavy cargoes of freight, fish, and agricultural products. 
Only when displaced by the fast freight steamers of the late nineteenth 
century did the square-riggers pass from the shipping lanes and from 
San Francisco Bay. The ships of the Alaska Packers' fleet, last of these 
great windjammers, were dismantled early in the I93o's. Meanwhile 
the first of the roving cargo carriers known as "tramp steamers" had 
passed through the Golden Gate in 1874. By the end of the following 
year more than 30 of these vessels had arrived. Their number increased 
rapidly until the rise late in the century of the great modern steam- 
ship lines, which absorbed the independent shippers who had dominated 
the pioneer era. By the middle 1870*8 the growth of logging camps and 
sawmills in the timber regions of the State had also created a demand 
for large fleets of freighters. 

Regular monthly service for freight and passengers was established 
between San Francisco and the Orient in 1867 by the Pacific Mail 
Steamship Company, which had for several years prior been transport- 
ing thousands of Chinese coolies to supply the demand for cheap labor 


during the building of the Central Pacific Railroad. By 1878 the 
Pacific Mail had established regular sailings to Honolulu, carrying 
merchandise which was exchanged for raw sugar, pineapples, coffee, and 
hides. Five years later the Oceanic Steamship Company entered this 
lucrative field of trade, and in 1885 extended its service to the ports of 
Australia and New Zealand. Within the following decade the names 
of William Matson and Robert Dollar were becoming known in mari- 
time circles. As sea-borne commerce expanded during the last two 
decades of the nineteenth century, other lines developed. Among these 
pioneers of American shipping on the Pacific Coast were the American- 
Hawaiian, United Fruit, and Panama-Pacific Lines. The Kosmos Line, 
later absorbed by the Hamburg- American Steamship Company, inaugu- 
rated the first monthly sailings to Hamburg and other European ports 
in 1899. By 1916 the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company's fleet 
of 26 steamers with a capacity of 296,000 tons was said to be the largest 
tonnage under single ownership operating under the flag of the United 

When the Panama Canal was opened in July 1914, the maritime 
commerce of San Francisco Bay entered its modern epoch of expansion. 
Along San Francisco's Embarcadero, until the outbreak of the war at 
the end of 1939, were represented almost 200 steamship companies 
whose vessels, both of domestic and foreign registry, called at nearly 
every port of the seven seas. Of these, at least half were engaged in 
coastwise, intercoastal, or transatlantic trade service (via Panama 
Canal) ; the others trade with Mexico and Latin America, Hawaii, 
Australia and the Orient, the African coasts, or offered round-the- 
world passenger service. From Puget Sound to Madagascar are 
known the huge dollar-sign insignia of Dollar Steamship Company ships 
(lately superseded by the spread eagle of the American President Lines), 
the blue-and-white smokestacks of California and Hawaiian, and the 
Matson Line's substantial "M." No less familiar to San Franciscans 
and other Bay region residents are neat Dutch liners and freighters 
bound for Rotterdam or Antwerp out of Batavia in the East Indies, for 
which San Francisco was a regular port-of-call. The ships of Japan, 
British ships from India and east African ports, ships from the Scan- 
dinavian countries and the Balkans were seen alongside piers of San 
Francisco's water front or in other harbors around the Bay. Most 
commonplace of all, however, are those coastwise freighters which butt 
in and out of ports all the way from Vancouver to Valparaiso. 

Among San Francisco's chief imports today are copra, sugar, coffee, 
and vegetable oils; paper and burlap; fertilizer and nitrates. Chief 
exports are petroleum products; canned, dried, and fresh fruit; lumber; 
flour and rice; canned and cured fish; explosives and manufactured 
goods. BetweeJi 1926 and 1936 San Francisco shipped 63 per cent of 


the total volume of canned, and 70 per cent of the dried, fruit exported 
from the Nation. In return for the goods which it ships away, San 
Francisco Bay receives from the whole Pacific Basin its products for 
distribution throughout the West. Of the 35,000,000 tons of inbound 
and outbound cargo cleared by California ports in 1935, San Francisco 
Bay handled 17,000,000. In total commerce it ranked fourth among 
all commercial centers in the country. 

The Port of San Francisco is much more than the 17^2 miles of 
berthing space which flank San Francisco's Ferry Building on either 
side. Actually it consists of the series of bays extending northeast from 
the Golden Gate to the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin 
Rivers and southward almost to San Jose. Harbor facilities are sup- 
plied by the half-dozen cities and industrial centers scattered along 100 
miles of shoreline enclosing 450 square miles of water. These ports 
within a port are as interdependent as are the economies of the different 
cities and towns of the Bay region. 

Thus a vessel in from the Hawaiian Islands may discharge pineapple 
at San Francisco and raw sugar at Crockett before proceeding to the 
Port of Oakland to take on a cargo of canned and dried fruits for the 
Orient, or a coastwise vessel up from Nicaragua or Honduras with a 
hold full of green coffee will unload at San Francisco before crossing 
to Oakland for automobiles for South or Central America. A tanker 
coming in through the Gate may steam directly to the Standard Oil 
docks at Richmond, or the Shell pier at Martinez; or it may make for 
the Selby Smelting Company's wharf at Selby. 

An air view of San Francisco Bay's littoral its miles of public 
and private wharfage; its manifold industrial plants crowding the 
water's edge; its deep-water anchorage for warships; its airports and 
islands and dockyards will alone reveal the stupendous picture of this 
port. And in October 1936 travelers to and from San Francisco Bay 
were provided with such a view when Pan-American Airways launched 
the first transpacific commercial passenger flight to Manila. To the 
historic roll call of ships which have sailed through the Golden Gate 
San Carlos, California, Flying Cloud, galleons and square-riggers, 
whalers and tramp steamers was added one more name : China Clipper. 


Less than a century spans the interval between the primitive looms 
and forges, kilns and winepresses of the missions around the Bay and 
the giant factories, shipbuilding yards, and refineries with their soaring 
smokestacks that congregate about the water's edge today. Where 
cattle grazed the lonely hills almost within the memory of living 
men furnishing hides for the illicit trade with Yankee sea captains, 


now rise Contra Costa's sugar and oil refineries, steel mills, explosive 
and chemical plants. Where whaling boats embarked from San Antonio 
Landing to carry wild fowl, bear, and deer across the Bay to market, 
now spreads the East Bay's crowded belt of canneries and factories. 
And where whalers and hide traders once tied up on the other side of 
the water, San Francisco's printing and coffee roasting plants, meat- 
packing and canning establishments crowd to the shore. 

The infant city by the Golden Gate grew rich overnight as indus- 
tries sprang up to supply and outfit the Gold Rush population. Within 
little more than a decade after Stephen Smith had established his steam- 
powered grist- and sawmill California's first at Bodega in 1843, San 
Francisco had built stagecoach and wagon factories, flour mills, and 
breweries. Boot and shoe factories and plants for the grading and 
manufacture of wool endeavored to fill the need for clothing and blan- 
kets. As was natural in a city which was in the habit of burning down 
two or three times a year, lumber mills flourished. To supply the 
miners' demands for picks and shovels and pans, the Donahue Brothers 
established their foundry (later the Union Iron Works) as early as 
1849. Since metal was scarce, San Francisco's pioneer machine shops 
and iron moulders were soon hammering iron wagon wheel rims and 
harness chains into miners' tools. 

After the overland railroad began providing transportation to and 
from the East for both freight and passengers in 1869, San Francisco's 
industries expanded rapidly. The development of quartz mining and 
the growth of large-scale agriculture spurred the manufacture of mining 
and milling equipment. Other leading industries during this era, in 
order of importance, were breweries and malt houses, sash and blind 
mills, boot and shoe factories, tin-ware manufacturing, flour milling, 
and wool grading and manufacture. Of lesser importance were the tan- 
neries, coffee and spice processors (now one of the city's leading indus- 
tries), rolling mills, box factories, soap works, cracker factories, and 
packing plants. Over all, annual industrial output for the two decades 
of 1870-90 rose from $22,000,000 to $120,000,000. 

The rapidly expanding mining industry had created a tremendous 
demand for special mining machinery. By 1860 San Francisco had 14 
foundries and machine shops employing 222 men and turning out nearly 
$1,250,000 worth of products annually. With the development of 
quartz mining and the growth of mining in Nevada, it became the un- 
disputed Western capital for mining machinery. But mine machinery 
did not long remain the sole concern of local industry and soon, with 
typical audacity, the comparatively inexperienced machine shops of San 
Francisco blithely were turning out such complex pieces of workmanship 
as railway locomotives, flour mills, steamships and lesser objects of 
everyday utility. By the end of the nineteenth century, San Francisco's 


machine shops constituted an industry of international stature, supply- 
ing flour-milling machinery and equipment for the entire Pacific area, 
including such widely separated places as South and Central America, 
Japan, China, Mexico, New Zealand, Siberia, and Australia. 

When the miners turned away from the creeks and climbed the hills 
to follow the quartz ledges, they needed explosives. It was in San 
Francisco in 1867 that Julius Bandmann took over exclusive rights to 
manufacture dynamite under the Nobel patents. At his plant in Rock 
Canyon he put together and discharged two pounds of dynamite the 
first, so far as can be determined, ever to be manufactured in the 
United States. In 1888 he moved his plant to Contra Costa County, 
where it became the Giant Corporation, a subsidiary of the Atlas Cor- 
poration. As the West began tearing down whole mountains to dam 
rivers and blasting highways along granite cliffs, other explosive manu- 
facturing plants were opened the Hercules at Pinole and the Trojan 
at Oakland. 

In 1865 Thomas Selby, a San Francisco hardware merchant, built a 
tall tower at First and Howard Streets for the purpose of dropping 
lead shot. But the lead ore, mined in California and Nevada, had first 
to make the long trip to Europe for smelting. Selby began to smelt the 
ore himself in a small plant in North Beach. The business grew and 
he moved, first to Black Point, then to Contra Costa County. In 1905 
the Selby plant was taken over by the American Smelting Company. Its 
tall chimney can be seen for miles around. Some of the ore from the 
famous mines of California and Nevada has been treated there anti- 
mony, lead, silver, and gold, including all of the latter two metals 
needed by the United States Mint in San Francisco. 

Another industry which had gained an early foothold in San Fran- 
cisco was sugar refining. The story of how a German immigrant boy, 
Claus Spreckels, graduated from his small San Francisco grocery busi- 
ness to become a millionaire sugar tycoon is typical of the swashbuckling 
manner in which many robust San Francisco pioneers acquired fortune 
and fame. Captain Cook, discovering the Sandwich Islands later the 
Hawaiian Islands in 1788, commented on the size and fine quality of 
the sugar cane he found growing there. Until Spreckels became inter- 
ested, all the cane from the Islands passed through San Francisco on 
its way to the East to be refined. Acquiring an early interest in 
Hawaiian plantation lands when he won part of the island of Mauai 
in a poker game with Kalakaua, the island king, Spreckels built a 
refinery here in 1863. Dissatisfied with results, he sold out and went 
to Germany, France, Austria, and Belgium to study the latest methods 
of refining. Returning to San Francisco, he built a second refinery. 
In 1882 he moved his plant to the water front at the foot of Twenty- 
third Street, where ships from the Islands could unload the cane 


directly into the refinery. There he installed improved methods of refin- 
ing. It is this plant, enlarged and reorganized, which today is the 
home of the Western Sugar Refinery. 

The California and Hawaiian Sugar Refinery at Crockett in Contra 
Costa County, a comparatively late comer, has developed into a giant 
corporation that grows, mills, refines, and distributes as sugar and 
sugar products nearly 80 per cent of all the cane that comes from the 
Hawaiian Islands. 

Men who had come to dig gold in California had remained to farm. 
Soon California's fertile inland acres were sprouting the "green gold" 
for which the State was to become world famous. Even before the 
great wheat farms of the 1 870*5 and i88o's had been supplanted by fruit 
and vegetable ranches, a few men had foreseen that this "green gold" 
might be shipped to the whole world if only it could be preserved against 
perishability, and packaged. 

In 1854 Daniel R. Provost, member of an Eastern fruit preserving 
firm, had stepped ashore in San Francisco to represent his company here. 
He rented a small building on Washington Street, where he repacked 
Eastern jellies in small glass containers. Two years later he enlarged 
the business and began to make preserves and jellies from California 
fruits. This was the first time native fruit had been preserved commer- 
cially on the Pacific Coast. 

Francis Cutting came three years later. He went into the fruit and 
vegetable-preserving business on Sacramento Street, where his unusual 
window displays attracted hungry customers. He added tomatoes to 
his line of products and in 1860 received a shipment of Mason jars 
which were well received in San Francisco. People began to refer to 
San Francisco as a fruit-packing center. 

In 1862 Cutting received from Balitmore his first shipment of tin 
plate, at a cost of $16 a box. That year he shipped California canned 
fruit to the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, to the Continental 
Hotel in Philadelphia and to the Parker House in Boston. He canned 
5,400 cases of California fruit in 1862. California's giant canning 
industry was born. In 1899 eleven pioneer companies merged to become 
the California Fruit Canners Association. The industry expanded 

San Francisco developed a luxury line of fruits and vegetables put 
up in glass containers and the Illinois Glass Company arrived in Oak- 
land to provide the jars. Typical of the canning industry today is the 
California Packing Corporation Calpak which owns 71 canneries, 
warehouses, and dried fruit plants, and many thousands of acres of fer- 
tile California lands. In the delta region, where the two great rivers 
empty into the Bay, Calpak owns 9,000 acres, 5,000 of which are planted 


to asparagus. According to a 1937 census the product of Bay area can- 
neries that year was valued at $49,920,161. 

Despite the fact that no oil is produced within 300 miles of the 
Bay, the center of its oil. industry, Contra Costa County, has developed, 
in the brief interval since a China-bound steamer sailed west with a 
cargo of oil in 1894, mt the clearing house for one-eighth of the entire 
world's supply of gasoline and petroleum products. All the way from 
the San Joaquin Valley's southern end, where oil was discovered late 
in the nineteenth century, pipes were laid to connect with Bay shore 
refineries. Standard Oil was the first of the large companies to build 
one; its Richmond plant was opened soon after the first ferry connec- 
tion was made with San Francisco. It put out one of the early wharves 
at Point Orient, linking the East Bay directly with the Far East by 
means of its tankers. Today four of the world's largest refineries over- 
look the water from San Pablo Bay's southern shore. 

Sugar, canning, oil these are the Bay region's industrial giants. 
For the most part, their operations are centered across the Bay from 
San Francisco. Long the West's chief industrial center, San Francisco 
had passed its zenith as a manufacturing city by the turn of the century. 
In its place, the East Bay came forward as factories found industrial 
sites cheaper and rail connections more convenient on the mainland. 
The city of San Francisco itself assumed its present role of financial 
and marketing center for an industrial area embracing the whole Bay 
region that of front office for the plants across the water. Although 
outranked in economic importance by both wholesale and retail trade, 
manufacturing nevertheless contributed 22 per cent of the city's annual 
pay roll in 1935. As befits a commercial and financial center, the 
printing and publishing industry important ever since the Pacific 
Coast's first power press was set up in April 1850 leads all the rest, 
with an output valued in 1937 at more than $40,000,000. The city's 
next most important industries are those of food-processing the coffee 
and spice (by far the most important), bread and bakery products, meat 
packing, and canned fruit and vegetable industries. 

Along the shores of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties stretches 
an industrial belt of bewildering complexity. At Emeryville, for in- 
stance, are situated no less than 35 concerns of national reputation, 
with products ranging from light globes to corsets, from canned fruit 
to preserved dog food. Oakland is coming to be known as the "Detroit 
of the West," for Eastern automotive tycoons, to pare transportation 
costs, have built their assembly plants here. There are three General 
Motors plants in Oakland, a Ford plant in Richmond, and a Chrysler 
plant in San Leandro. Fageol trucks of Oakland are found high up 
among the mines of the Andes Mountains ; huge tractors built by the 
Caterpillar Tractor Company of San Leandro are shipped all over the 


world. In 1921 the Atlas Imperial Diesel Engine Company of Oak- 
land built the first solid injection marine Diesel engine to be manufac- 
tured with commercial success in America. The Union Diesel Engine 
Company, which has been building gas engines, since 1885, supplies the 
means of motive power for boats of the United States Navy, the United 
States Bureau of Fisheries, and of the Arctic Patrol of the Canadian 
Northwest Mounted Police. The 4OO-acre plant of the Bay region's 
steel center, Pittsburg, recalling the giant mills of its Pennsylvania 
namesake, provides steel for many of the West's biggest construction 
jobs. Organized in 1910 by a group of San Francisco financiers, Colum- 
bia Steel (now a subsidiary of United States Steel) owns its own coal 
and iron mines, blast furnaces and coke ovens in Utah. 

In 1940, only a few years short of the hundredth anniversary of 
gold's discovery, more than 3,000 industrial plants crowd the shores of 
San Francisco Bay, employing nearly 90,000 workers and producing 
goods valued at more than $1,000,000,000. Almost 71 per cent of 
central California's population of 3,000,000 people live within a 75- 
mile radius of San Francisco still the hub of a great marketing area 
as it was in Gold Rush days. Now as then it is the San Francisco Bay 
region's job to supply their needs and now, too, the needs of millions 
more beyond the horizons of a wider expanse, the whole Pacific. 


The discovery of gold brought thousands clamoring to the muddy 
shores of the shallow indentation known as Yerba Buena Cove, which 
extended in an arc from the foot of Telegraph Hill to the present 
Montgomery Street and around to the foot of Rincon Hill. One of 
the first acts of the newcomers as a corporate body was to begin grad- 
ing away the sand hills along Market Street and dumping them into 
the mud flats of the cove. The project was many years in completion. 
Before it was finished, about 1873, they had already begun building a 
sea wall several blocks east of the shoreline so that ships could unload 
directly upon the wharves without the aid of a lighter. 

The construction of the sea wall, a stupendous project for its time, 
took many decades to complete. A trench 60 feet wide was dredged 
along the line of the proposed water front, and tons of rock blasted 
from Telegraph Hill were dumped into it from lighters and scows. 
The rocks were allowed to seek bed-rock of their own free weight; 
when settling ceased, a layer of concrete two feet thick and ten feet 
wide was laid on top of the resulting embankment. 

While this work was going on, the reclamation of the mud-flats 
and shallows of the original cove was progressing. Some of the city's 
lesser hills were dumped bodily into the area between the old water 


front and the new sea wall until the business and financial district of 
lower Market Street everything east of Montgomery Street arose 
from the sea. 

Agitation for rail connections to link the Bay with the outside 
world had begun as early as 1849. By 1851, $100,000 worth of 
stock had been sold for a projected line between San Francisco and 
San Jose. Three successive companies achieved little; but the fourth 
not only reached Menlo Park, but extended its line down the Peninsula 
to San Jose and was completed January 16, 1864. September of 1863 
had seen completion of the San Francisco and Oakland Railroad Com- 
pany's line from downtown Oakland to the Oakland ferry wharf. 

Meanwhile, San Francisco's "Big Four" were pushing their Central 
Pacific rails over the mountains to join the Union Pacific in Utah. The 
first transcontinental railroad, completed in May 1869, extended only 
as far west as Sacramento. But the "Big Four," determined that 
San Francisco should be the focal point of a country-wide network of 
railroad lines, systematically acquired control over every means of entry 
to the Bay region from all directions. Having bought a short railroad 
between Sacramento and San Jose, they built a branch to Oakland, 
purchased the two local roads connecting Oakland and Alameda with 
the East Bay water front ; and taking over another line between Sacra- 
mento and Vallejo, they extended it to Benicia, where they inaugurated 
ferry service to carry their trains across Suisun Bay, installing the 
world's largest ferryboat for the purpose. Finally they bought the San 
Francisco and San Jose Line. The Bay was encompassed by the tracks 
of the "Big Four." 

"The railroad has furnished the backing for a great city," reported 
the San Francisco Bulletin, "and the need now is for a thousand miles 
of local railroads in California." The four went about answering the 
need. They completed a line southward to Los Angeles through the 
San Joaquin Valley on September 5, 1876. Their monopoly of rail 
transportation was unchallenged until completion in 1898 of a compet- 
ing line financed by popular subscription, which was sold in the same 
year to the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Company. The 
"Big Four," meanwhile, were gradually extending the original San 
Francisco and San Jose line until in 1901 it stretched all the way down 
the coast to Los Angeles. On August 22, 1910 the Western Pacific 
line from Oakland through Niles Canyon, Stockton, Sacramento, and 
the Feather River Canyon to Salt Lake City was opened to traffic. 
By joint agreement in 1904 the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe 
began consolidating a group of short lines in the northern coast coun- 
ties including the San Francisco and North Pacific from Tiburon to 
Sherwood and the North Shore from Sausalito to Cazadero into one 


line extending from the tip of the Marin Peninsula northward to Trini- 
dad, near Humboldt Bay, finally opened November 17, 1914. 

Meanwhile a growing San Francisco had spread beyond the limits 
set for it in the imagination of its first settlers. Tycoons of mine, 
ship, and railroad began to build grotesque, grey wooden mansions, 
tired-looking beneath their burdens of architectural bric-a-brac, on the 
city's highest elevations. They then were confronted with a new, and 
purely local, problem of transportation that of devising a vehicle capa- 
ble of surmounting hills too steep for horses. The result was the inven- 
tion, by local manufacturer Andrew S. Hallidie, of the cable car. The 
inaugural trip of the first car, over the newly laid line on Clay Street 
between Kearny and Jones Streets, was a civic event. On the morning 
of August 2, 1873, the unfinished car was sent down the hill and back. 
That afternoon a public trial trip was made: many people climbed into 
and upon the car, which was intended to hold only 14, but in spite 
of the overload, it literally made the grade. Thirty days afterward 
the line was put into regular operation. The principle of cable traction 
was not new. The crowning engineering achievement lay in adapting 
it to street transportation in solving the problem of how to make a 
moving cable follow the contour of the street and how to devise a grip 
which could not tear the cable apart by too sudden a jerk. The cars 
promised in their day to become the prevailing type of public convey- 
ance in all of America's larger cities. They still survive in the city 
of their birth, an antique touch in a streamlined world. 

Before introduction of the cable car, horse cars and omnibuses had 
been the prevailing means of street transportation. The first such line, 
starting in 1852, had been the "Yellow Line," a half-hourly omnibus 
service which carried 18 passengers at a fare of 50^ apiece from Clay 
and Kearny Streets out the Mission Street plank toll road to Mission 
Dolores. In 1862 the first street railroad on the Pacific Coast had 
begun providing service from North Beach to South Park. A steam 
railway began operation on Market Street in 1863, but sand and rain 
repeatedly filled the cuts, and omnibuses constantly obstructed the tracks 
and in 1867 horse cars were substituted. Even after cable car tracks 
were installed on Market Street (hence the name "South of the Slot" 
for the district south of Market) a horse car line paralleled them until 
1906. An electric line was in operation on Eddy Street as early as 
1900. In 1902 began the unification of all the city's lines, except the 
California Street cable, into one system, predecessor of today's Market 
Street Railway Company. The first line in the long-planned Municipal 
Railway first city-owned street railway system in the United States 
and second in the world was the Geary Street, put into operation in 
1912. There are now 378.35 miles of street railway and bus lines in 
San Francisco. 


On September n, 1853, the consciously progressive city by the 
Golden Gate had made another and very different stride toward 
conquering the distances that lay between the communities of men. On 
that date was opened for use the first electric telegraph on the Pacific 
slope, connecting the San Francisco Merchants' Exchange with six-mile- 
distant Point Lobos. It was built to announce the arrival of vessels 
at the Gate (previously signalled to the town by the arms of the giant 
semaphore atop Telegraph Hill). Two days later, James Gamble 
started out from San Francisco with a party of six men to put up wire 
for the California State Telegraph Company, which had obtained a 
franchise from the Legislature for a telegraph from San Francisco to 
Marysville by way of San Jose, Stockton, and Sacramento. On Sep- 
tember 25th the wire was in place. On October 24, 1861, the first 
direct messages between New York and San Francisco passed over the 
wires of the first transcontinental telegraph line. 

One year after Alexander Graham Bell had invented the telephone, 
in 1876, Frederick Marriott, Sr., publisher of the San Francisco News- 
Letter, had a wire installed between his office and his home. In Febru- 
ary 1878 the American Speaking Telephone Company began regular 
service with 18 subscribers. Soon afterwards the National Bell Tele- 
phone Company offered competition. The early switchboard consisted 
of two boards affixed to the wall, each with a row of brass clips into 
which holes were drilled to receive the plugs making the connections. 
In the National Bell Telephone Company's office, bells above these 
boards notified the operator of a call. Since the bells sounded exactly 
alike, however, a string had to be attached to each bell tapper and a 
cork to each string; the antics of the cork called the attention of the 
operator to the line that demanded attention. 

On January 25, 1915, the first transcontinental telephone line was 
opened. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell in New York spoke to his former 
employee, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco, repeating his sentence of 
an even more memorable occasion: "Mr. Watson, come here, I want 
you!" In December 1938, San Francisco had 282,204 telephones 
more connections per capita of population than any United States city 
except Washington, D. C. 

A still greater stride in communication was made on December 13, 
1902, when the shore end of the first transpacific cable was laid in 
San Francisco by the Commercial Pacific Cable Company (organized 
in 1883 by Comstock king John W. Mackay). 

A more homely problem a vexatious one for San Francisco since 
1849 was that of its water supply. In early years water had been 
brought from Marin County on rafts and retailed at a dollar a bucket. 
Throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century, local sources of 
supply were exploited by private companies. When these failed to keep 


pace with the requirements of the rapidly growing metropolis, the City 
and County of San Francisco began in 1914, after a long and bitter 
struggle with monopolistic interests, the construction of the Hetch- 
Hetchy system. 

Heart of the system is O'Shaughnessy Dam, towering 430 feet high 
across the granite-walled course of the Tuolomne River, high in the 
Sierra Nevada in Yosemite National Park. The mountain waters im- 
pounded are piped to San Francisco by gravity through tunnels and 
steel pipes over 163 miles of mountains and valleys. Besides the main 
dam and reservoir at Hetch-Hetchy, the system includes a number of 
subsidiary storage reservoirs and power stations with a combined capac- 
ity of more than 150,000 horse power. The dam was completed in 
1923, the aqueduct in 1934. 

The East Bay, too, had been faced with a similar situation regarding 
its water. From several wells in the vicinity and the surface run-off 
of San Pablo and San Leandro Creeks the region long had drawn a 
water supply whose quality was impaired by the inflow of salt water 
from the Bay and whose quantity was estimated at about one-sixth of 
that soon to be required. In the same year the O'Shaughnessy Dam 
was completed to impound waters for thirsty San Franciscans, the East 
Bay Municipal Utility District was organized. Eight years later it had 
completed the 358-foot-high Pardee Dam on the Mokelumne River in 
the Sierra foothills, a 93.8-mile aqueduct, two subsidiary aqueducts, and 
auxiliary storage reservoirs. 

Long before the waters of the Sierra Nevada were generating power 
to light the homes of the Bay region on the evening of July 4, 1876 
Reverend Father Joseph M. Neri presented electricity to San Fran- 
ciscans, operating on the roof of St. Ignatius College three large French 
arc searchlights with an old generator that had seen service during the 
siege of Paris in 1871. This was an occasion surpassing even the light- 
ing of the city's first gas lamps on February n, 1854 illumination 
provided by gas manufactured from Australian coal by the San Fran- 
cisco Gas Company (first of its kind on the Pacific Coast). 

George H. Roe, a local money broker whose interest in electricity 
had been aroused when he found himself owner of a dynamo taken 
as security for a loan, organized in 1879 the California Electric Light 
Company and erected a generating station on a small lot near the 
corner of Fourth and Market Streets. Early consumers paid $10 a 
week for 2,ooo candlepower of light which was turned off promptly at 
midnight. By 1900 a number of other companies had been organized. 
Through a merger of two of the largest, in 1905, was incorporated 
the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which now operates four steam- 
electric generating stations in San Francisco and two in Oakland. Now 
the third largest public utilities system in the United States, P.G. and 


Bay Region: Today and Yesterday 




Gabriel Moulin 










Drawing by Louis Choris 

* *v 







tF Perru/ Fom fecit Tutuu *m,o /777 

Regents of University of California 


E. serves an area of 89,000 square miles on the Central Pacific Coast. 
It controls 49 hydroelectric generating plants and ten steam generating 
plants, all interconnected, with a total installed capacity of 1,676,902 
horsepower. Radiating from hydroelectric generating stations installed 
on 30 different streams of the Sierra Nevada and supporting steam pow- 
erhouses, the electric system forms an interconnected network of trans- 
mission and distribution lines from the mountains to the sea, more than 
500 miles in length. 

In the meantime, San Francisco's hills again had proven to be and 
this time literally stumbling blocks to the city's progress; for, as they 
halted further expansion, the town became cramped for space. Answer 
to the new problem was the construction of a series of five railway 
tunnels known as the Bay Shore Cutoff; completed in 1907, they 
brought the Peninsula towns within commuting distance of "the city" 
and opened up a large new residential area. In 1915 the city's North 
Beach section was made more easily accessible by a tunnel driven through 
Nob Hill on Stockton Street. Two years later the completion of the 
2 ^4-mile Twin Peaks Tunnel provided a short-cut to the district west 
of Twin Peaks, doubled the city's potential residential area, and brought 
a rich financial return to property owners, business men, and real estate 
promoters. Another tunnel was bored to carry streetcars under Buena 
Vista Heights. 

By the third decade of the twentieth century the fast-growing East 
Bay communities were confronted, as San Francisco had been, by the 
need of making similar improvements on nature. In 1928 a $4,496,000 
automobile and pedestrian tube was laid beneath the Oakland Estuary 
to connect Oakland with the island city, Alameda. The Posey Tube 
(named for its designer and engineer) is unusual in that it is con- 
structed of twelve prefabricated tubular sections, 37 feet in outer diam- 
eter, which were "corked," towed across the Bay, and sunk into a great 
trench dredged on the bottom of the estuary. The center one of the 
tube's three horizontal sections accommodates traffic; the lowest is a 
fresh air duct; the uppermost, an outlet for foul air. 

More than 1,000 men toiled three years to build the impressive 
Broadway Tunnel connecting East Bay cities with Contra Costa 
County, which cost $4,500,000 before its completion in 1937. This 
twin-bore automobile and pedestrian tunnel, an extension of Oakland's 
main thoroughfare, has two additional lateral approaches from Berkeley 
and East Oakland. A clover-leaf obviates the crossing of traffic lanes. 
By day, "twilight zones" at each portal accustom the drivers' eyes to 
the change from natural to artificial light. 

But when engineers had created a city where mud flats had been, had 
surmounted the hills of that city and the hills and valleys of the region 
beyond, had learned to talk over miles of wires and harnessed mountain 


streams to provide drinking water and electricity for a people, they had 
still to span the great body of water on whose shores the people lived. 
Not until 1927 was the Bay first bridged when the narrowest width 
at its extreme southern end was crossed by the Dumbarton Drawbridge, 
connecting San Mateo and Alameda Counties. 

Carquinez Strait, the narrow entrance from San Pablo Bay to 
Suisun Bay, was next to be spanned. Carquinez Bridge is a tribute to 
the imagination and determination of two business men Avon Hanford 
and Oscar Klatt. In 1923 their company secured a toll bridge franchise 
and despite the admonitions of engineer and layman that the water 
was too deep and swift to permit a bridge at the site construction 
was begun. In 1927 the $8,000,000 structure was opened to traffic. 
The great double pier rests on sandstone and blue clay at a depth of 
135 feet below mean water level, over which the steel construction 
towers, for four-fifths of a mile, 314 feet above the strait. 

March 3, 1929, saw completion of what was then the longest high- 
way bridge in the world the twelve-mile San Mateo Toll Bridge, 
crossing seven miles of water a few miles north of the Dumbarton 
Bridge. The movable, 3O3-foot, i,ioo-ton center steel span erected 
in South San Francisco and floated by barge to its resting place can 
be raised 135 feet above water level. 

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was opened in November, 
1936. It has six lanes for automobile traffic on its upper deck; three 
lanes for truck and bus traffic and two tracks for electric trains, on its 
lower. Its length is 12 miles, including approaches. Clearance above 
water at the central pier is 216 feet, sufficient to clear the mast of 
the largest ships. The west crossing between San Francisco and Yerba 
Buena Island consisting of two suspension bridges anchored in the 
center to a concrete pier, is unique in bridge construction; it is so built 
that the roadway forms a single smooth arc. Connecting the east and 
west crossings is the largest diameter tunnel in the world, blasted 
through Yerba Buena Island's 140 acres of rock. It is 76 feet wide 
and 58 feet high; through it an upright four-story building could be 
towed. Three pioneer tunnels were bored through the rock and then 
broken out until they became one horseshoe-shaped excavation. A via- 
duct was built 20 feet above the floor of the tunnel to carry the six-lane 
automobile boulevard; beneath it pass electric trains and trucks. The 
extraordinary depth of the bedrock to which concrete supports for the 
towers had to be sunk through water and clay presented bridge builders 
with an exceptional problem. To solve the problem, engineers devised 
a new system of lowering the domed caissons, controlled by compressed 
air. In the case of the east tower pier of the east crossing, bedrock 
lay at such a depth that it could not be reached. The foundations were 
laid at a depth greater than any ever before attained in bridge building. 


Six months after the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay 
Bridge, San Francisco was linked to the northern Bay shore by the 
world's longest single span, the Golden Gate Bridge. It measures 
4,200 feet between the two towers and 8,940 feet in all. Its towers 
rise 746 feet above high tide ; its center span, 220 feet above low water. 
The tops of the towers rise above the waters of the Golden Gate to the 
height of a 65-story building. Most spectacular feat in the bridge's 
construction was the building of the south tower's foundation. Be- 
cause of the swift tidal flow at this point, spanning the Golden Gate 
had long been considered impossible. Working on barges tossed con- 
tinually by swells as high as 15 feet, seasick workmen built from bed- 
rock a huge concrete fender completely enclosing the site. Inside this 
fender, which later became part of the structure, caissons were sunk. 

When the two towers were finished, workmen clambering along 
catwalks strung between them spun the giant cables from tower to 
tower. Into the spinning of each of the cables (which measure 36^ 
inches in diameter) went 27,572 strands of wire no thicker than a lead 
pencil. To support them, each tower has to carry a vertical load of 
210,000,000 pounds from each cable and each shore anchorage block 
to withstand a pull of 63,000,000 pounds. From these cables the bridge 
was suspended by traveler derricks invented to perform jobs of this kind. 

At about the time the two bridges were being woven into the Bay 
region's design of living, Treasure Island was rising from the rocky 
shoals just north of Yerba Buena Island. An outline of the island-to-be 
was drawn in tons of quarried rock. Inside it were dumped 20,000,000 
tons of sand and mud dredged from the bottom of the Bay. When the 
job was completed a 4OO-acre island, cleaned of salt by a leaching proc- 
ess, had replaced the shoals once feared by seamen. Built to support 
the $50,000,000 Golden Gate International Exposition, Treasure Island 
is destined to become, when the Exposition closes, a terminal for the 
graceful Pacific Clippers that fly to Hawaii, the Philippines and the 

Golden Era 

"Mind before mines ought to be the motto . , . of every edu- 
cated Calif ornian." 

Reverend H. W. Bellows 

TO THINK of its power and influence," marveled Horace Greeley 
at San Francisco's pioneer literary journal, the Golden Era, 
"when the population is so sparse and the mail facilities so poor." 
The Eras youthful founders, Rollin M. Dagget, who was only nineteen 
years old when he arrived on the Coast, and J. MacDonough Foard, 
who was only twenty-one, had followed Greeley's own advice: "Go 
West, young man !" The phenomenal success of their attempt to spread 
enlightenment on such matters as education, literature, and the fine arts 
through the Era's columns, beginning in 1852 when the infant city 
could not yet supply itself with even the common necessities of life, was 
indicative of that hunger for all the arts and refinements of civilization 
which inspired the Argonauts almost as much, it would seem, as the 
quest for gold. "To encourage virtue and literature" had been one 
of the announced objectives of the founders of the Bear Flag Republic 
in 1846. Certain it is that "virtue and literature" and art, and learn- 
ing, and architecture have received rare encouragement in the cities 
around San Francisco Bay. Even the earliest saloons insisted on hang- 
ing paintings on their walls and providing musicales for their patrons! 
The Gold Rush may have swept San Francisco's first public school- 
master, Thomas Douglas, off to the mines six weeks after he called 
his first class to order, but countless others who took his place would 
demonstrate a steadier adherence to the motto the Reverend Bellows 
framed for "every educated Californian." 


To trace the pioneer impetus in the educational field is like watch- 
ing the man in the old story who brought water on mule-back from 
the ocean to the Colorado River. One disbelieves, and yet one sees 
the thing happening: individual after individual carrying obstacles 
before him that look insurmountable, impelled by nothing but his own 
belief and courage. There is Colonel Thomas J. Nevins, who first 
revealed to the Common Council of San Francisco that children were 
among the products of the gold-bearing State. The council, in those 
days when only the color of gold could put a man in action, was inclined 



to distrust Colonel Nevins' report until he thrust under their noses a 
census of his own taking, and illustrated it by samples of both sexes. 
The result was an ordinance for the establishing of the free common 
school system. That was in 1851. Nevins had earlier, of his own 
accord, set up a school in Happy Valley, south of Market Street, and 
could be seen each day following an express wagon along San Francisco 
streets, gathering up children and expressing them to the Happy Valley 
schoolhouse. And even earlier yet, Yale graduate Thomas Douglas had 
opened on April 3, 1848 California's first public school in a small shack 
on Portsmouth Square, beginning with six pupils, whom he taught until 
the Gold Rush, following shortly afterward, bore him off to the mines. 

There is John G. Pelton, who came around Cape Horn from Ando- 
ver, Massachusetts, determined to lay the foundations of a public school 
system in the illiterate West. Pelton even brought a school bell with 
him, which was tied to the mast and rang the watches on the tedious 
voyage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He arrived with $1.50 in his 
pockets, not enough to remove books, globes, maps, and bell from the 
sandy beach where they had been landed. Some unnamed visionary 
rescued him and his wife. As soon as a boarding house opened by Mrs. 
Pelton was under way, he started a free school in the basement of the 
Baptist Church. 

Writes John Swett, who became principal of one of the schools 
established after the ordinance of 1851: "This school [the Rincon 
School] was ... in a small rented house planted in the middle of a 
sandbank on the corner of First and Folsom Streets. . . . There was 
neither a blackboard nor map. . . . The only apparatus consisted of a 
wooden water pail and a battered tin dipper, from which the children 
drank water brought from a well not far distant, the owner of which 
allowed the boys to draw one bucket of water a day." An early teacher 
is pictured scooping the drifted sand from under the pot outside his 
tent door, proceeding to boil his potatoes and brew his kettle of tea for 
a solitary supper after his day's work. 

Ambitious in the face of difficulties is a list of geography questions 
propounded by an early school board president who prided himself on 
being able to teach more in one day^than any teacher in San Francisco. 
The questions were (i) name all the rivers of the globe; (2) name all 
the bays, gulfs, seas, lakes and other bodies of water on the globe; (3) 
name all the countries of the world; (4) name all the cities of the world. 
It is told that when a young man from Texas had worried through the 
questions in arithmetic and had come to these on geography, he examined 
them carefully, then walked up to the chairman's table and handed them 
to him, saying, "If the Board wants me to prepare a primary geography, 
they must pay me for it." 

The first kindergarten was opened in September 1863, by "Pro- 


fessor" Charles and Madame Weil, at 41 South Park Street. Schools 
sprang up quickly in imitation of the first successful private children's 
school, and by the end of the century there were easily a hundred of 
them in the city. Child education, however, did not receive mature 
attention until the advent of Miss Emma Marwedel in 1878. Miss 
Marwedel was one of the earliest child educators in the East to teach 
story-telling and drawing to children, and she left a highly successful 
school in the Nation's capital to organize a kindergarten in Los Angeles. 
During this period of teaching and training she instructed Kate Douglas 
Wiggin in kindergarten work. 

Later Miss Marwedel and Mrs. Wiggin were associated in conduct- 
ing San Francisco's famous Silver Street Kindergarten, parent institu- 
tion of all Pacific Coast kindergartens. It was located in the notorious 
Tar Flat district around Second and Harrison Streets where ". . . life 
is sodden and aimless . . . children are often born of drunken mothers, 
and show deformities and mental deficiencies and inherited diseases . . . 
kindergarten teachers in their visiting sometimes find mothers helpless 
with drink . . ." 

Fighting against such conditions, Miss Marwedel and Mrs. Wiggin 
taught the ever-increasing classes games, music, and the elements of 
cultural education, and with the help of other assistants made their 
school one of the most active educational forces in the history of West- 
ern child training. When Mrs. Wiggin later gained international fame 
by writing such books as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Mrs. Wiggs 
of the Cabbage Patch, she continued the crusade for child education. In 
San Francisco during her last few hours of intolerable illness, Miss 
Marwedel said to followers: "Have faith in the kindergarten ... I 
believe in its power to reform the world." 

Jean Parker, who believed the education of a child should include 
more than arithmetic, history, grammar, and other basic studies, first 
introduced useful and practical accomplishments such as domestic 
science classes, school luncheons, girls' and boys' clubs, manual arts, and 
physical culture to California juvenile education. The Jean Parker 
Grammar School in San Francisco not only follows her now-famous 
"learning by doing" method, but is a living memorial to the woman 
about whom was said: "She knew the new education before it poured in 
a beneficent flood over the land, and she created while others evolved 
laboratory schemes of advancement . . ." 

The rise of colleges and universities followed the same impulse 
which broke through the apathy of a raw and materialistic civilization 
to establish the common schools. On the eastern side of the Bay, at a 
time when Oakland was a cluster of houses and Berkeley but an expanse 
of neighboring fields, when the first transcontinental railroad had not 
reached California, and Tiburcio Vasquez was harassing honest men in 


the San Joaquin Valley, the University of California was opened in 

Leland Stanford came to California in 1852, penniless, to sell salt 
pork and miners' sieves in a store at Michigan Bluff. After a while he 
was able to bring his wife out from the East, and for a time they made 
their own furniture from drygoods boxes but only for a time. On a 
November morning in 1885, Senator and Mrs. Stanford gathered a 
group of men in their Nob Hill home in San Francisco and presented 
to them the founding grant of Stanford University. Without ostenta- 
tion and seemingly the least impressed of all present, the Senator deeded 
over to this board of trustees 83,200 acres of the richest farmlands in 
California, and declared his intention of bequeathing to the institution 
the bulk of his estate, then estimated at $30,000,000. The world 
gasped. Never before had an educational institution come into exist- 
ence on foundations so munificent. But that was the least cause for 
astonishment. There was not even a flag stop where the doors of the 
university were to open, nothing but unbroken stretches of grain. Fur- 
thermore, the university at Berkeley had not yet reached the 400 mark 
in its graduating classes, and, as the New York Mail and Express re- 
marked, the need for another university at such close quarters was about 
as urgent as for "an asylum of decayed sea captains in Switzerland." 

Nevertheless, the very daring of the enterprise, and the beauty and 
fitness of the Romanesque buildings as they arose, arcade on arcade, 
against the low tawny hills, together with the word broadcast by Dr. 
David Starr Jordan, "The winds of freedom blow!", drew a student 
body of 465 in the first year. Among that first generation were Herbert 
Hoover, Ray Lyman Wilbur, Vernon Kellogg, Holbrook Blinn, Will 
and Wallace Irwin, and Charles K. Field. It was Senator Stanford's 
idea that the university he had founded should be a place for specializa- 
tion, with the primary emphasis on usefulness. In terms of this ideal 
the growth of the university has been molded, with the gradual elimina- 
tion of work of general and elementary nature and the expansion of 
research and graduate studies. On the other hand, Mrs. Stanford's 
insistence was on the spirit of democracy, an objective aided by the fact 
that both students and faculty were necessarily resident on the campus, 
from the very earliest days when the great iron triangle sounded for 
communal "Grub!" As a consequence, it has become a Stanford claim 
that no student can consider his college career a success if, when he 
graduates, he is not known by his first name to at least three professors. 

But pioneer education was not reserved for men only. On an acre- 
age in the foothills of Alameda County, ideals of manners and "lady- 
hood" were taught young women who had no designation to set beside 
their names but some vague territorial address such as "Nevada." In a 
society founded by adventurers, this was indeed stemming the stream. 


Dr. Cyrus Taggart Mills had reached California in the i86o's, then a 
man of middle age, his only fortune a small one acquired by missionary 
toil and close saving. Purchasing the ground where Mills College now 
stands, he transported to it Benicia Seminary, and under mansard roof 
and cupola "beautifully frescoed" within with well-meaning cherubs, 
garlands of roses, and be-ribboned musical instruments, Dr. Mills and 
his wife taught the daughters of miners "to spell correctly, to read 
naturally, to write legibly, and to converse intelligently." 

Numerous other educational institutions arose during the 20 years 
after Mrs. Olive Mann Isbell taught her youngsters in a stable where 
she saw her wedding handkerchief used as a flag of truce to the Mexi- 
cans. In 1850 the Sisters of St. Dominic opened St. Catherine's 
Academy at Benicia; today as the Dominican College of San Rafael, it 
is particularly noted for its school of music. The University of San 
Francisco had its beginning five years later as St. Ignatius College, built 
on land described as "the sand dunes near the little town of San Fran- 
cisco" the present site of the Emporium. In 1863 Archbishop Alemany 
founded St. Mary's College, since transferred from San Francisco to 
Oakland and more recently to Moraga. 

It is primarily in scientific discovery that the pioneer spirit now 
evinces itself, and it is in science that California scholars have made 
their greatest mark. In the Radiation Laboratory of the University of 
California stands a gigantic contrivance that looks like a Brobdingnagian 
cheese, but has been compared more appropriately to a huge machine 
gun. This cyclotron Dr. E. O. Lawrence directs against atoms objects 
so small that the entire population of the world would require 10,000 
years to count the number of them in a drop of water. Before Dr. 
Lawrence's experiments the only bullets powerful enough, and at the 
same time tiny enough, to crack through the nucleus of the atom were 
the natural emanations of radium, an extremely expensive commodity 
and one available in very small quantity. By means of the cyclotron 
the nuclei of a special type of hydrogen atom may be utilized for the 
same purpose. These nuclei, fired at the rate of a hundred thousand 
billion a second against whatever element is exposed to the machine, 
satisfy both the necessity for tremendous force and the necessity for 
infinitesimal smallness. 

The reason for this vindictive effort to break up the innocent atom 
lies in the tremendous energies released by the cracking open of the 
atomic nuclei, energies which are the most tantalizing forces known to 
man. Already the atoms of all the available (some 30 different) 
elements have been blasted by the stream of so-called "deuterons" 
emitted by the machine. The rearrangement in pattern and size of the 
atomic nuclei of these elements has resulted in the realization of the old 
dream of the alchemists the transmutation of one element into another, 


of platinum into iridium and gold, of bismuth into polonium and lead. 
It has resulted also in the creation of substances never yet found in 
nature, substances whose common characteristic is the fact that they are 
all radio-active. Several of these new forms show promise in the treat- 
ment of certain radio sensitive diseases. Even more sensational is the 
liberation of the "neutron ray," a ray similar to X-ray but far more 
effective in the treatment of tumorous and cancerous tissue, and now 
regarded as one of the most promising developments in the scientific 
fight against cancer. 

Dr. Ernest Linwood Walker, quiet and sincere student, professor of 
tropical medicine in the University of California Medical School, some 
years ago swept aside the veil of superstition and fear which for thou- 
sands of years had blinded men to the real nature of leprosy. He was 
able to identify the bacterium cultivable from leprosy as a soil-growing 
organism, and he suggests, as an alternative hypothesis to contagion, the 
entrance of this soil bacterium into the human body through soil-con- 
taminated wounds as the primary mode of infection in leprosy. Wild 
rats are subject to a leprosy-like disease, from which the same soil 
organism can be cultivated and for which a similar mode of infection is 
suggested. No longer were bells to be rung as the leper approached, and 
the dreadful cry, "Unclean!" go from mouth to mouth. 

A housewife who opens a can of peaches is protected by a long series 
of intensive researches carried on in the university laboratories. Dr. 
Carl Meyer and his assistants, after working on the subject of botulism 
(food poisoning), were able to reduce poisoning from commercially 
packed foods to the extent that now there is actually more danger from 
foods preserved in the home. 

In the Engineering Materials Laboratory, preparatory to the build- 
ing of Hoover Dam, concrete was accorded unusual attention. It was 
tested by delicate instruments, in turn lovingly coddled and lovingly 
smashed and given ideal conditions and the worst conditions in order 
that one of the engineering projects of the modern world might guard 
the waters of the Colorado River. Within adiabatic calorimeters cork- 
lined rooms with doors like those of the refrigerator of a butcher shop 
samples of various types of concrete were housed in cylindrical com- 
partments; electrical resistance thermometers were imbedded in the 
concrete. The concrete was tested under various stages of dampness, 
with and without loads ; its strength was measured in a universal testing 
machine of 4,ooo,ooo-pound capacity. Its durability was gauged under 
artificial weather conditions duplicating those to which the dam would 
be subjected. This testing laboratory has been concerned in an advisory 
capacity with engineering projects including the Colorado River Aque- 
duct into Los Angeles, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the 


Golden Gate Bridge, Pine Canyon Dam, and Oakland's Broadway 

At Stanford University aeronautical research has been carried on 
since the eve of America's entry into the World War, when Professors 
Durand and Lesley built their wind tunnel on the campus and started 
experimentation with airplane propellers on reduced scale models. This 
was real pioneering, for the problems were then virtually unattacked. 
Stanford is now recognized as the leading center in the United States 
for propeller research. 

In the same way that research is integrated with the commercial life 
of the State, so also is it integrated with the life of California farmers, 
returning to them millions of dollars, saved through improved agri- 
cultural methods. In more than one curious instance, experiments 
carried on for the benefit of agriculture have had their effects in a totally 
different field of industry. When Charles B. Lipman, now Dean of 
the Graduate Division, and Dr. Aaron Gordon were engaged in the 
problem of treating pear-blight by injecting a poisonous solution in the 
trunks of the trees, it was hoped the solution would act on the bacteria 
causing the blight. Unfortunately it was not successful with pear trees, 
but it was remarkably successful with telephone poles. The problem 
now became a totally different one, that of protecting piles and timbers, 
used in marine construction and by power companies, from the depreda- 
tions of various types of borers. The process, which is like embalming, 
consists in injection of the poisonous solution into the circulatory system 
of the living tree or cut pole. Practical tests on telephone poles and 
piles before they are cut have shown it to be a cheap and efficient method 
of protecting them from marauding organisms, fungi, and molds. 

These are a few of the values immediately accessible and easily 
visualized by the layman who is interested in "results" from the State's 
educational system. Yet even in the liberal arts department, there is 
the eternal individual with warmly giving hands and heart fixed on the 
future. Josiah Royce, one of the truly great "great men" who have 
come from the University of California, speaks of climbing around 
under the eaves of Bacon Hall, where the books belonging to the old 
College of California were stored. There, where deep dust stood on 
ancient theological and scientific treatises, he gathered, according to his 
own statement, the most profound intellectual impressions of his life. 

The immense collections of the present University Library came into 
being, step by step, with the gifts of individuals who had felt a similar 
debt to "book-learning." One of the most delightful of these collections 
is lodged in the Morrison Library, on the ground floor of the building. 
The story of its foundation parallels Walter Scott's preface to Quentin 
Dttrward. Just as Sir Walter was introduced by the fantastic Marquis 
de Hautlieu, with many apologies for tattered tapestry and tenant owls. 


to the turret room of a ruined castle where were deposited "the precious 
relics of a most splendid library," so, demurring in housewifely fashion 
for the untidiness of the attic, the widow of Alexander F. Morrison 
led her guests, one evening after dinner, to a garret lit up like an 
Aladdin's cave with the splendor of 15,000 books which she wished to 
give to the university as a memorial to her husband. These books, so 
vital a part of her own life, were not to be swallowed in the catacombs 
of the stacks, but were to form a room of their own where students, sans 
notebooks, might genuinely recreate themselves intellectually. 

The Bancroft Library is, of course, one of the most important of the 
individual collections, and becomes each year increasingly the center of 
research for students of the history of the Pacific Slope and Hispanic 
America. Scholars in constantly larger numbers come from the East 
and abroad to consult these rich manuscripts and printed materials. 
Similarly unique in its own field is the Hoover Library on War, Revolu- 
tion, and Peace, at Stanford, containing documents relating to the 
World War government reports, unofficial publications, periodicals, 
books, pamphlets, and manuscripts, some of so confidential a nature that 
they will not be available for use for 40 years. 

It has been said that the degree of civilization attained by any nation 
may be estimated from the provision it makes for study of the stars. 
Certainly, paradoxical as it may seem, no one has ever asked that Li<~fc 
Observatory show its credentials in the shape of "practical" benefits. 
The discovery of a fifth moon in Jupiter or a shadowy duplicate streak 
across Mars has satisfied the public mind as much as an honest piece of 
cement or the last meal of a mealy-bug issuing from the university 
laboratories. This tolerance for sidereal phenomena is, as a matter of 
fact, a good deal more respectable than the tolerance which James Lick 
himself felt for starry matters. It is said of him that he "had never 
looked through anything larger than a ship's spy-glass," and when he 
was consulted at his Alviso flour mill in 1887 on the subject of a univer- 
sity foundation for scientific studies, he "listened patiently, but it made 
no more impression on him than on the fruit trees" he was walking 
under. Yet he founded for what reason no one can surmise the 
observatory on Mount Hamilton, one of the seven branches of the Uni- 
versity of California. There, in the base of the pier on which the 
observatory rests, rests also the body of James Lick. 

And there, through telescopes a good deal larger than a ship's spy- 
glass, have been discovered the several satellites of Jupiter additional to 
the four discovered by Galileo in 1610. There have occurred the first 
great successes in photographing comets and the Milky Way, teaching 
more about the structure, formation, and dissolution of the comet's tail 
than had been learned in all previous time. There the sulky steps of 
the young blue stars have been measured, the staid stride of the middle- 


aged yellow stars, and the fine gallop of the old red stars. There the 
advance through space of our own solar system has been set at 12.2 miles 
per second in the direction of the constellation of Hercules. Whether 
this would have meant much or little to James Lick, no one can say, 
for he "wot not of it" under his fruit trees at Alviso. 

Notoriously unexciting as is the history of education, the hardihood 
of those first California educators considered now from a safe distance 
in time seems no less awe-inspiring than the hardihood of their con- 
temporaries who forged across the Sierra Nevada, seeking gold. For 
the apathy they faced and overcame was no less cold and cruel than the 
Sierra. Nevertheless they opened school in stable and tent. And it is 
still their day the day of the pioneer in the halls now decently clad 
with stucco and adorned with drinking fountains, while the chimes of 
Berkeley's Campanile proclaim the international frontiers of education, 
ringing out, slowly and liquidly, a tune from Heine or an old English 
carol or "The Goden Bear." 


In 1864 an earthquake damaged San Francisco but left Oakland 
unharmed. Discussion ensued as to the reason for Oakland's invulnera- 
bi*ity. Bret Harte, citing "Schwappelfurt, the celebrated German 
geologist," endeavored to explain the singular fact by suggesting that 
there are some things the earth cannot swallow. Whether Harte's 
affection for Oakland was paralleled by a similar affection for San Fran- 
cisco is a question; he was given a job in the mint so that he could 
write stones, but as soon as he had written the stories he left and went 
to wear his green gloves in Boston and to part his Dundreary whiskers 
in London. 

Bret Harte is not the only writer who, wearing the local label, 
conducted himself with an astonishing resistance toward this geographi- 
cal section. Harte left it bodily. Mark Twain, Joaquin Miller, and 
others found the city's frank money grubbing and social vulgarity unbear- 
able. Boston and New York, London and Paris seemed to offer a more 
soothing atmosphere for artistic nerves jangled by such excesses of gross 
materialism. And yet Harte endowed California with its earliest 
literary prestige. He discovered and romanticized the Argonauts, at a 
time when it could be said of the urban intellectuals of whom he was 
one, that, like the Hangtown girls, 

"They're dreadful shy of forty-niners, 
Turn their noses up at miners." 

And there is ironic justice in the fact that once he had created the Argo- 
naut of California- fiction, he tucked up his mustachios and departed. 


It is the California setting, particularly the setting of San Francisco 
its place on the sea, facing the Orient, with its back to the mines 
which alone has inspired in its writers a continuity of tradition. The 
region gave elbow room for the unpredictable expansion of certain indi- 
vidual writers, elbow room they would not have had elsewhere. The 
effect has been what some critics call the "virility" of Californian litera- 
ture. This is the one tradition to which it is possible to point the 
defining effect of the region on its writers. 

San Francisco's literary beginnings were its pioneer journals the 
first of which, the Golden Era, was founded in 1852 by J. MacDonough 
Foard and Rollin M. Daggett. In March 1857 the Golden Era 
printed a slight, sentimental poem, "The Valentine," signed "Bret." 
Its author followed with more verses and sketches. Another contributor 
was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a young Missourian, signing himself 
Mark Twain. The two men met soon after May 1864, while Clemens 
was employed on the Call, which shared a building with the local 
United States Mint. Later Harte became temporary editor of the 
Californian, and engaged Clemens to write regularly for the publication. 
Harte laid the foundation for Western romance, and Twain crystallized 
Western humor. 

Harte played the more irrational, the more unpredictable part, and 
in this way the more truly "Californian" part ; for scarcely a year before 
the appearance of The Luck of Roaring Camp, he was writing editorials 
(as editor of The Overland Monthly) on the unromantic ugliness of 
such place names as Poker Flat and Red Dog Gulch, advising young 
writers to steer away from the appellation "honest miner," since "the 
less said about the motives of some of our pioneers the better; very 
many were more concerned in getting away from where they were, than 
in going to any particular place." And in his editorial in the second 
number of The Overland Monthly he prophesied that it would be 300 
years before the red shirts of the pioneers would become romantic and 
their high boots heroic. One of the worst of prophets, he had just 
finished writing the story that would do more than anything else to 
make the red shirts romantic and the high boots heroic. It was con- 
tained in the same issue. 

The Luck of Roaring Camp had more than its author's own resist- 
ance to his environment to overcome. The resistance of proofreader 
and printer was so strenuous that it was almost still-born and Amer- 
ican local-color with it. Cherokee Sal's profession shocked the young 
lady who read proof. A reference to obstetrics threw her into hysterics. 

And finally Kentuck's exclamation over the baby "The d d little 

cuss!" brought her hurriedly to the printer, who shared her appalled 
conviction that the story should never see the light. Dictatorial inter- 
ference alone saved it for the August number of the Overland. What 

58 SAN FR A N C I S C O 

happened then was a publishing miracle, which brought offers from the 
Atlantic Monthly, a letter from Charles Dickens, and an announcement 
from Henry Adams that there was just one hopeful thing in a hopeless 
world Bret Harte. 

Harte is usually associated with the Argonauts of '49 and '50, 
whereas he is a writer of the later fifties and the sixties, writing of 
"the disused ditches, the scarred flats, the discarded levels, ruined flumes, 
and roofless cabins." His Yuba Bill he very probably rode beside, on 
some dusty stagecoach, but as he himself says in A Lonely Ride: "The 
road from Wingdam to Slumgullion (that is, in the heart of the mining 
country) knew no other banditti than the regularly licensed hotel- 
keepers." Harte's Indians were the Indians whose carcasses he saw 
floated by the raft-load down to Uniontown after a cutthroat revel of 
some upstanding citizens inspired by whisky and manifest destiny. His 
"heathen Chinee," who "for ways that are dark and for tricks that are 
vain" was so very peculiar, was one of the unfortunates who were being 
attacked with all the violence of anti-oriental chauvinism. 

California "romance" and California "savagery" of the sort that 
appeared in Harte's writing give striking point to the story told by 
Mark Twain of how Harte drew the railroad tracks under the grizzly 
bear for the Overland'* title-page. A grizzly, the old grizzly that had 
been the State's totem ever since the Bear Flag days, had been selected 
as emblem for the Overland Monthly. The grizzly was drawn, en- 
graved and printed, but he seemed a very lonely bear. "As a bear, he 
was a success he was a good bear " says Mark. "But then, he was 
an objectless bear a bear that meant nothing in particular . . . simply 
stood there snarling over his shoulder at nothing . . . But presently 
Harte took a pencil and drew these two simple lines under his feet and 
behold he was a magnificent success! the ancient symbol of California 
savagery snarling at the approaching type of high and progressive Civil- 
ization, the first Overland locomotive!" This, however, was not the 
only significance of the symbol, as Harte would prove by his almost 
immediate departure down those tracks for an Eldorado that lay in the 
opposite direction, the direction of the East and Europe. He left Cali- 
fornia's "savagery" to John Muir, in whose gentle hands the mining 
camps were erased from the mountains; and California's "high and 
progressive Civilization" to Henry George, whose Progress and Poverty 
was to issue from San Francisco. 

The unshorn gentry of the mining towns had at first provoked satire 
among San Francisco wits, and then, by Harte's unpredicted gesture, 
romance. But satire remained a strong undercurrent. Twain's de- 
scription of the celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County might be 
a typically monstrous understatement for the "honest miner" himself: 
"You never see afrog so modest and straightfor'ard as he was, for all 


he was so gifted. And when it come to fair and square jumping on a 
dead level, he could get over more ground at one straddle than any 
animal of his breed you ever see." Twain, who had adopted his 
pseudonym in 1863, mounted as a humorist on the back of this frog, for 
he wrote the sketch and won his first fame all in one leap. He remained 
in California from May 1864 until December 1866, and worked on the 
San Francisco Morning Call for a few months. Of the writers with 
whom he had contact, most were humorists : it was the typical humor of 
the Comstock Lode era that crystallized in his style at this time 
coupling the tall tale of the barroom with excessive understatement. 
By the time he left California, his popularity in the East had become 
enormous. And like Harte, he sought those greener pastures. 

Besides Harte and Mark Twain, the Golden Era, the Californian, 
and the Overland had other contributors whose fame spread beyond the 
local boundaries. Prentice Mulford's rollicking satire of frontier heroics 
found great favor. Charles Warren Stoddard, the poet, a close friend 
of Harte, later became the celebrated author of South Sea Idyls and 
The Lepers of Molokai. Ina Coolbrith, who contributed poems to the 
Californian under Harte's editorship, was many years afterward named 
the "poet laureate" of California. Songs from the Golden Gate con- 
tains many of her finest lyrics. Another distinguished contributor was 
Edward Rowland Sill, author of The Hermitage and other volumes of 

Joaquin (Cincinnatus Heine) Miller, "the Poet of the Sierras," 
was deeply impressed by the city's literary atmosphere when he first 
came to San Francisco as a young man. "I have seen the world well 
since," he said many years later, discussing the Golden Era, "yet those 
carpeted parlors, with Joe Lawrence and his brilliant satellites, outshine 
all things else, as I turn to look back." His name, Joaquin replacing 
the ridiculous Cincinnatus Heine was derived from Joaquin Murrieta, 
the Mexican outlaw in California. Miller's fame, however, originated 
not in San Francisco but in London, where he became a nine days' 
wonder as a fiery poet and a convincing representative of the "Wild 
West," with his high top boots, red flannel shirt, a sombrero, and his 
long hair falling, Indian-fashion, upon his shoulders. In his grandilo- 
quent poetry he celebrated the deeds of pioneers, Indians, and bandits 
amid the natural marvels of the West. Except for "Columbus," which 
is still in the school boy's repertoire, he is remembered today for his 
attitudes rather than for his verse. In his hilltop eyrie, "The Hights" 
(sic)j overlooking Oakland, he settled down, after his wanderings 
abroad, to practice his odd histrionics until his death in 1913. 

Ambrose Bierce was another who found elbowroom for the develop- 
ment of an even more intense individuality, but the stamp of the region 
upon him was of a different sort. For a quarter of a century he was a 


literary figure, the local literary figure, and the years which he domi- 
nated stretched into an era vastly different from the era of the Argonauts 
as the "unutterably gorgeous" society of the i86o's gave way to the 
sand-lot crusades of "the terrible seventies." This was the era of novels 
such as On the Verge, abounding in voluptuous ladies at the pianoforte, 
and in French quotations; of the poets such as Richard Realf, whose 
record for bigamy won as much sympathy as his record for bad verse; 
of essays on Petrarch and of editions of Heredia. It was the era of the 
false front, and it showed even worse propensities in the eighties Greek 
porticos flanked by bay windows, Corinthian columns leading up flights 
of ^ wooden steps, conical towers, and Queen Anne flourishes. From 
Nob Hill to Barbary Coast, barbarism and greed destroyed the possi- 
bility of good work in the arts. 

This was Ambrose Bierce's domain. He declared himself in 1877 
with the first issue of the Argonaut: "It is my intention," he said, "to 
purify journalism in this town by instructing such writers as it is worth 
while to instruct, and assassinating those that it is not." His column, 
appearing consecutively from 1868 to 1900, was a vivid experience in 
the lives of innumerable Westerners. He had deliberately set himself 
the task of direct attack on individuals. It was his moral function, and 
possibly the only function open to him in his time and in San Francisco. 
His style he had acquired in the beaver-hat age, an age of gesture and 
flourish; and he patched it together with ideas of "elegance" gained in 
London, and delivered his opinions with a bludgeon-like ponderosity 
suitable for denting the pates of a hoodlum citizenry. He himself 
summed up his literary proclivities in a fable: "A rattlesnake came 
home to its brood to die I have been bitten by the editor of a partisan 
journal, it said." 

Irony indeed and poetic justice, perhaps in the career of this 
Titan who had San Francisco for his malfeasant Olympus, is the very 
name of the column which carried his "homicidal paragraphs" : Prattle. 
Another irony is his mysterious end in Mexico, trailed by apocryphal 
tales of an old man shot by a firing squad. Still another is the end met 
by those disciples who called him "Master" Herman Scheffauer, who 
took his own life in a Berlin hotel, and George Sterling, who com- 
mitted suicide in San Francisco's Bohemian Club. But these futilities 
cannot be laid at Bierce's door, by calling him, as some critics have done, 
a "death man." The style of the time, in a community of contradic- 
tions, was morbid. Bierce's own style, if it is measured in terms of the 
resistance he put up to those contradictions, was one of tremendous 

To combat those same contradictions required even more vitality of 
Bierce's successors. From an Oakland cannery, where ten hours a day 
of taut nerves prevented a moment's attention to the frequent victims 


who had their fingers snapped off by the machinery, Jack London was 
graduated to become "the prince of the oyster pirates." He has indi- 
cated the reason for his choice of a profession: "Every raid . . . was a 
felony. The penalty was state imprisonment, the stripes and the lock- 
step. And what of that ? The men in stripes worked a shorter day than 
I at my machine." With Whiskey Bob, Joe Goose, Nicky the Greek, 
Soup and Stew Kennedy, Clam Bart, Irish and Oyster Kelly, Patsy 
Haggerty, Harmonica Joe, Hell and Blazes, and young Scratch Nelson 
of the monumental shoulders, he discovered the social conditions which 
fecundated his talent. Having nearly forfeited his life to a Chinese 
shrimp poacher who marooned him on an island off the Marin shore a 
story he tells in Tales of the Fish Patrol he learned enough wit to leave 
oyster pirating and seek the primitive salt in a three-topmast schooner 
bound for a larger universe. 

The Sea-Wolf, The Call of the Wild these titles indicate not 
only London's place in space, on a bay crowded with ships that offered 
adventure far from "the man-city and its snarling roar" ; they indicate 
also his place in time, when the romantic gesturer had to turn from 
Oscar Wilde's hothouse, and go hunting with "huskies" on the last big 
hunt before the world closed up its frontiers. Lonf don came back from 
the South Seas and wrote of nut-brown queens, who sat on swan-skins 
and greeted a chance traveler thus: "Stranger, I reckon you're sure the 
first white man that ever set foot in this valley. Set down an' talk a 
spell, and then we'll have a bite to eat. Which way might you be 
comin' ?" And of primitive Teutons in the clothes of James Ward of 
Ward, Knowles and Company, who dictated to their stenographers by 
day and chased coyotes on the hills of Mill Valley by night. 

But California's most spectacular and widely read California author 
was much more than a romantic gesturer. London's social philosophy 
was direct and radical. And the themes he dealt with were those of 
elemental physical conflict. In the handling of swift action he has 
scarcely been surpassed. Superlatively strong men stalk through his 
books, which were based directly on his own experiences. Martin Eden 
and John Barleycorn are semi-fictionized accounts of his own life, 
alternating between infantile romanticism and profound disillusionment. 
Mostly self-educated, he wrote, in 16 years, 43 volumes, besides acting 
as war correspondent and cruising in his yacht, the Snark. He died at 
his ranch in Glen Ellen, California, in 1916, of uremia. 

He had long been a victim of ill health, disappointments at the 
hands of his friends, overwork in order to maintain a large establish- 
ment, and that battle against drink described in John Barleycorn. As a 
voice of his time and region, a spinner of yarns, a furious prophet, 
London is remembered by an audience probably larger than that of any 
other American author. 


In this period, Frank Norris comes closest to the accent of greatness. 
And misses it. While London wrote of James Ward, who puzzled 
philologists at the University of California by his chants in primitive 
Germanic, Norris wrote of McTeague of McTeague's Dental Parlors, 
whose ambition was to have projecting from the corner window over 
Polk Street "a huge gilded tooth, a molar with enormous prongs, some- 
thing gorgeous and attractive." While London wrote of Klondike 
huskies, Norris wrote of B Street Station: 

"Near the station a bit of fence painted with a cigar advertisement reeled 
over into the mud, while under its lee lay an abandoned gravel wagon with 
dished wheels . . . Across the flats, at the fringe of the town, were the dump 
heaps, the figures of a few Chinese ragpickers moving over them . . . Across 
the railroad tracks, to seaward, one saw the long stretch of black mud bank 
left bare by the tide, which was far out, nearly half a mile. Clouds of sea- 
gulls were forever rising and settling upon this mud bank; a wrecked and 
abandoned wharf crawled over it on tottering legs; close in an old sailboat 
lay canted on her bilge . . ." 

In the dynamic fictions of Frank Norris and Jack London an aware- 
ness of social forces is more evident than in any earlier Western writing. 
Norris, who came to California from Chicago at fourteen years of age, 
laid his early novels, Blix, Vandover and the Brute, and McTeague , in 
San Francisco. The essence of the city's life at North Beach, Tele- 
graph Hill, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, the Polk Street district is reflected, 
although not without certain youthful exaggeration, in their pages. 
Norris determined to explore, on a large scale, the economic mainsprings 
of society. The Octopus and The Pit were the two first volumes of an 
intended trilogy, "The Epic of Wheat." In The Octopus is depicted 
the stranglehold of a railroad on California wheat growers and the 
entire State. The Pit is placed in Chicago, the world's wheat market. 
The third volume, The Wolj, to have been an account of the consumers 
of wheat the world over, was never written. In the midst of his 
ambitious plans, Norris died at the age of 32. Although marred by 
melodramatic excesses, a confusing tinge of mysticism, and an apparent 
lack of clear understanding of the issues involved, his novels, in their 
search for truth, in their tone, stand as distinguished landmarks at the 
threshold of the era of realism in American letters. 

The society which London attacked with merciless fury and Norris 
probed with surgical ruthlessness was gently scolded in The Lark, edited 
by Gelett Burgess in the nineties, which for the whole of its two years 
sustained a wondrous buoyancy. It was read throughout the country, 
though Burgess often mocked the staid with such ditties as : 

"I love to go to Lectures, 
And make the Audience Stare, 
By walking 'round upon their heads, 
And spoiling People's hair!" 


Conventional readers tolerated his nonsense because Burgess always 
kept it "clean" and because it was young as they never had been young ; 
its more sophisticated comments escaped them, being whispered, as 
Albert Parry says, "in exquisite innuendo." Its chief contributors were 
Ernest Peixotto, Bruce Porter, Florence Lundborg, Carolyn Wells, 
Yone Noguchi besides Burgess, whose "Purple Cow" classic first ap- 
peared in its pages. The New York Times nicknamed the group Les 
Jeunes. It was abandoned while still thriving and making money be- 
cause, as Burgess wrote to Carolyn Wells, "I wanted it to die young 
and in its full freshness." Its whole staff, except Noguchi, moved to 
New York. But Burgess remembered San Francisco, for in The Heart 
Line he satirized both practitioners and victims of palmistry and astrol- 
ogy, cults which have always thrived in a city where so many have lived 

After the turn of the century an increasing number of young San 
Franciscans hoping for a career in literature yearned toward the cultural 
centers in the East and Europe; but many still received their impetus 
from the local scene. "The Man With the Hoe," published in a San 
Francisco newspaper, made famous overnight the young San Jose poet, 
Edwin Markham. The coterie of writers who frequently met at Papa 
Coppa's restaurant during the years just preceding the earthquake and 
fire of 1906 included Jack London, Wallace and Will Irwin, the short- 
story writer James Hopper, the imperious and aging Ambrose Bierce 
and his two brilliant pupils, poets Herman Scheffauer and George 
Sterling. Having learned from Bierce nothing of that writer's Swiftian 
vigor but only his magniloquence, Sterling was invoking in such volumes 
as The Testimony of the Suns a Platonic idea of California scenery, 
largely in the colors of purple and crystal. The Irwins each celebrated 
the Chinatown of the pre-fire era Will in Pictures of Old Chinatown 
and Wallace in Chinatown Ballads; after the fire, Will wrote a requiem 
for "The City That Was," while Wallace, who had gained his early 
fame with such verses as Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum, turned to novel 

Charles Caldwell Dobie, 26 at the time of the fire when he helped 
his mother transport the family treasures beyond the reach of the flames 
was later to describe the more picturesque aspects of the city as it had 
been in San Francisco : A Pageant, San Francisco Tales, and San Fran- 
cisco's Chinatown. Another of those for whom the "days of old, days 
of gold" have provided a rich vein to tap for literary purposes is Stewart 
Edward White, author of The Gray Dawn and The Forty-Niners. 

Even before the turn of the century Gertrude Atherton's literary 
explorations had been leading her back to California's Spanish begin- 
nings. She wrote of Magdalena Yorba, half-Spanish and born tongue- 
tied, and of her father, Don Roberto, a bank president, who practiced 


"hip-hip-hooray!" in his study and hanged himself with the American 
flag. From the Spanish period, which she celebrated in The Dooms- 
woman, The Calif ornians, The Splendid Idle Forties, and Rezanov, she 
went on to the American era in Ancestors and Patience Spar hawk, and 
then, having covered California, shifted to Montana, Greece and Africa. 
Rezanov, love story of the visiting Russian officer and the San Francisco 
Presidio comandante's daughter, probably has remained her most popu- 
lar novel. In Adventures of a Novelist (1932) she looks back on 
the five decades of her literary career. 

Charles Norris, like his brother Frank, writes "to make people 
think." Characteristic of his novels conceived on a less ample scale 
than those of his brother are Brass, an attempt to present different 
phases of "what we understand by marriage"; Pig-Iron, concerned with 
the materialistic influence on American life; and Bricks Without Straw, 
dealing with the ever recurring battle of ideals between parents and 
children. His wife, Kathleen Norris, who in her early youth was a San 
Francisco newspaper woman and a contributor to local periodicals, com- 
pletes the noted family; since her first published volume, Mother 
(1911), which went into numerous editions, she has written almost 50 
novels, all observing the proprieties of middle-class family life. 

Even Gertrude Stein, when she turned to description of the local 
scene in The Making of Americans, wrote of a vanished yesterday of 
her girlhood in an old-fashioned house with verandas amid the tangled 
rambler roses and eucalyptus trees of suburban Oakland. But the post- 
war writers have now been succeeded by post-post-war writers who have 
put nostalgia behind them. William Saroyan might have been born 
anywhere anywhere that there was a colony of Armenians but he 
happens to have been born in the San Joaquin Valley, and the majority 
of his earlier stories reflect his goings to and fro about the rich valley 
earth and that much of the cosmos located between Carl Street, San 
Francisco, and the Civic Center. 

"I want you to know," he writes, "that it is very cold in San Fran- 
cisco today, and that I am freezing . . ." Or he tries it on another 
tack: "I am out here in the far West, in San Francisco, in a small room 
on Carl Street, writing a letter to common people, telling them in simple 
language things they already know." Out of these trivia blue fingers 
for the writer, things they already know for the readers comes Theo- 
dore Badal, the Assyrian barber on Third Street; comes young "Iowa," 
gone north with his yellow hair and hope ; comes the daring young man 
himself, turning his "lost face to the empty sky." 

John Steinbeck has been gathering California local color all his life 
and has turned it to account in several books, most powerfully and 
angrily in his recent novel, The Grapes of Wrath. In a curious but 
perhaps not an Accidental way, Saroyan and Steinbeck recall "with 


variations" some of the earlier phases of literature in the region. The 
he-man of the 1890'$ is re-born in William Saroyan, born with the 
proper cosmopolitan note of Armenian hair and with the genuine mid- 
century stamp of a depression-starvation appetite. A virility less flam- 
boyant than Jack London's because it had no Klondikes in which to 
exercise none the less manifests itself in the immediacy of Saroyan's 
style, in his simple, undetailed human sympathies. And finally, John 
Steinbeck has made as disturbing a figure in the Nation's literary scene 
as any California writer by bringing to its culmination that "local-color" 
fiction for which Bret Harte and California literature along with him 
became famous. 


Of all Apollo's embattled stepchildren who have attempted to create 
works of artistic value amid the Bay region's turbulent economic de- 
velopment, few have achieved so much as its painters and sculptors. 
Enormous is the variety of their work much of it derivative and 
mediocre, some of it distinguished by originality. If theirs is not yet a 
tradition of masterpieces, they nevertheless have put behind them almost 
a century of aesthetic ferment, of tireless experimentation. 

San Franciscans, whatever their qualifications for aesthetic judg- 
ment, have always been outspoken critics of their city's art and artists. 
Before a monument may be erected or a mural finished, citizens from 
the mayor downwards must have their say. A minority opinion recently 
delivered by members of the Art Commission the city's final arbiter of 
art works and public buildings condemned the proposed erection of 
Beniamino Bufano's gigantic statue of St. Francis on Twin Peaks. "It 
looks like a holdup," they said of the design for this 156-foot figure of 
stainless steel with arms upraised in supplication; and local factions 
were aroused anew by a syndicated columnist's Nation-wide crusade 
against what he termed "God-awful statuary" as represented by Bufano's 
unorthodox model. This controversy had been preceded by the public 
turmoil attending the painting of murals in the Coit Tower, which was 
marked by political tail-twisting such as Diego Rivera practiced on his 
patrons in his Rockefeller Center murals in New York. To bring this 
hectic tradition up to date, Hilaire Hiler threatened to leave uncom- 
pleted his murals in the lobby of Aquatic Park unless plans were aban- 
doned to install furniture not in keeping with his decorative motif. The 
files of the Alia California, the Wasp, the Overland Monthly, and the 
News-Letter offer plentiful testimony, in saltier epithets of earlier 
decades, that such controversies are by no means confined to the present 

The plastic arts have been a product and a reflection of the cultural 


growth of the Bay region, and of San Francisco in particular. As the 
rough-and-ready decades of the Gold Rush passed, a kind of poker-faced 
conservatism settled on the metropolis dominated by the bonanza mil- 
lionaires. Its culture froze in the urbane, ornamental, shock-proof mold 
of the i88o's and remained always slightly out-of-date until rejuvenated 
after the calamity of 1906. Its painters, depending wholly on the 
patronage of a nouveau riche society, offered productions acceptable to 
a clientele whose tastes were dictated by extravagant notions that had 
nothing to do with art. In their imitation villas and chateaux the 
families of the bonanza elite wanted interior decoration that would be 
"elegant" and dazzling and grand, something flamboyant enough to 
impart an overwhelming impression of social prestige. Whenever these 
"cultural accoutrements" could not be produced locally in sufficient 
quantity, all Europe was ransacked for an astonishing assortment of 
paintings, sculpture, stained glass, tapestries, furniture, and bric-a-brac. 
The result, as that gaudy generation's sophisticated and refined descend- 
ants laughingly acknowledge, was hideous and absurd. 

For those Bay region artists who had to put up with such nonsense 
this was an environment that sorely tested their professional integrity. 
But despite the perversion of public taste, which characterized American 
life generally during the nineteenth century, the majority of the Bay 
region's painters and sculptors devoted themselves to their work with 
uncompromising sincerity. And eventually, out of all the mass of 
spurious importations, were established those collections and exhibitions 
of both European and native art by which the public has been educated 
to appreciate the significance of local craftsmen and their colleagues 
abroad. Out of the aesthetic confusion of the bonanza era have evolved 
those art schools and museums which have helped to create a new 
synthesis of the welter of artistic influences. 

If, as John P. Young's history of San Francisco points out, most of 
the city's literati in the i86o's ignored the local scene, "no such accusa- 
tion can be brought against the painters of the period, for their subjects 
were almost wholly Californian." Pioneer of this California School 
was the artist of whom the Alia California's discerning critic observed: 
"Few men dare paint flesh, against a pink cushion, Nahl has dared, and 
won ( !)" This was with reference to Charles Christian Nahl's (1818- 
75) three separate renderings of The Rape of the Sabine Women. 
Painted in the pseudo-classical manner of the Diisseldorf School, this 
romantic work was long considered his masterpiece. Unfortunately for 
his reputation, many of his more relevant and minutely authentic studies 
of Gold Rush scenes have either been scattered among private collections 
or lost. Though the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum contains 
some of his paintings, his most representative works, including The 
Fandango and Sunday at the Mines, are in the E. B. Crocker Art Gal- 


lery at Sacramento. Descendant of a long line of German artists, Nahl 
was indebted to his ancestry for what talent he had. In subject matter 
and technique he was influenced by the classic revival and by his early 
studies under Horace Vernet in Paris. 

Expert draughtsman that he was, Nahl revealed in his canvases a 
love of detail for its own sake which make them primarily exercises in 
careful documentation : genre paintings in which the sitter for a portrait, 
accompanied by his favorite domestic animals, appears against a bucolic 
background of his own countryside. His restless energy and versatility 
enabled him to make hundreds of drawings for engravers, supplying 
popular demands for illustrations depicting Gold Rush scenes. His 
designs for the 18 woodcuts in Alonzo Delano's The Idle and Indus- 
trious Miner, a Tale of California Life are a marvel of draughtmanship 
which enliven with droll humor that collection of melodramatic verses. 
"It was inevitable," says Eugen Neuhaus in his appraisal of Nahl, "that 
a man of his innate endowments and extraordinary powers of observa- 
tion should be inspired to depict in his own medium ... the early 
California glorified by Bret Harte . . . ; and it is from these pictorial 
records that we today get by far the best idea of those stirring times. 
. . . The Nahl who will live in the annals of art is not the painter of 
remote, academic historical scenes; it is the artist of the life in the Cali- 
fornia mines, as lived by an adventurous, polyglot society of Americans, 
Indians, Mexicans, and Europeans, of which he himself was a part." 

Painting in California would have remained a purely provincial art 
had not the literature of the Gold Rush with its wondrous accounts of 
the natural scenery of the West publicized for the Atlantic seaboard and 
for Europe the Sierra Nevada's fabulous grandeur. To the "increasing 
astonishment and reverential awe and rapture" of millions of Americans, 
the "California School" arose to rival those landscape painters who were 
glorifying the Hudson River Valley. Prodigious as these Hudson River 
wonders appeared, they presumably could be put to shame by more 
gigantic representations of the "magnificent scenery of that marvellous 
region, where the roar of the cataract and the roll of the thunder 
reverberate like the tread of the countless millions who evermore march 
to the westward." 

If today the vast landscapes painted by Albert Bierstadt (1830 
1902) seem impressive only in size, they nevertheless furnish a com- 
mentary on the popular taste which once acclaimed them as masterpieces. 
Their depiction of cyclopean gorges and mountain peaks with every 
detail, down to the minutest leaf and pebble, described with an exacti- 
tude approaching photography have also a certain expansive gusto 
which must have appealed to a public thrilled by the first full flowering 
of its national spirit. Bierstadt, born in Diisseldorf and brought to 
America as a child, came West with General Lander's expedition of 


1858. His Rocky Mountains, a huge canvas of ponderous detail and 
uncertain perspective, "threw the people into an ecstasy of delight" and 
he "bounded at one step to celebrity." S. G. W. Benjamin, whose Art 
in America confutes some of the prevailing artistic credos of his genera- 
tion, remarks that since Bierstadt was "naturally an artist of great 
ability and large resources," he "might easily have maintained a reputa- 
tion as such if he had not grafted on the sensationalism of Diisseldorf 
a greater ambition for notoriety and money than for success in pure art." 

Bierstadt's contemporary, who succeeded him as "artist in waiting to 
the Yosemite Valley," was Thomas Hill (1829-1908). Beginning his 
career as a coach painter, Hill depicted panoramic views of entire moun- 
tain ranges which constituted the reductio ad absurdum of the California 
School's approach to landscape painting. His celebrity, like Bierstadt's, 
was spectacular; but today the works of these two boosters of Western 
natural scenery are looked upon as curiosities of a fabulous epoch. 

The reputation of Thomas Moran (1837-1926) has suffered less 
from the refinement of popular taste than either of these flamboyant 
representatives of the California School. Having studied abroad, he 
enriched his canvases with the influence of Turner. If in his own time 
his works received less vociferous acclaim than inferior productions, his 
solid talent is today being appreciated. With William Keith's, the land- 
scapes of Moran represent the best accomplishments almost the sum 
and substance of the California School. 

Like Bierstadt, Hill, and Moran, Toby Edward Rosenthal (1848- 
1916) achieved celebrity abroad. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, he 
studied in San Francisco with the Mexican painter, Fortunate Arriola, 
in Munich at the Royal Academy, and with Raupp and Piloty. After 
gaining local fame, he maintained a studio in Munich, where he turned 
out excellent examples of the solid craftsmanship, the minuteness of 
literal detail, the sentiment and the "homely philosophy" of the Munich 
school of genre painters. His method of painting was laborious, 
scholarly; he spent three years in literary research, travel, and sketching 
to produce a single canvas, The Trial of Constance de Beverley (illus- 
trating Scott's Marmion), now in the possession of Stanford University. 
"I have spared," he wrote in 1882 while at work on it, "no labor, time, 
nor money in my endeavour to make Marmion my greatest work," and 
the remark reveals his attitude toward painting; to him, it was related to 
archeology, literature, philosophy. Only incidentally, however, can 
Rosenthal be considered a Bay region painter. His The Cardinal's 
Portrait and the Seine Madonna, both at the California Palace of the 
Legion of Honor, keep his curious local reputation alive. 

It was only natural, once the novelty of wealth had begun to wear 
off and a new generation had been born to inherit it, that the patrons 
of art should take their cultural ambitions less casually. It was in- 


evitable, too, that artists of the Bay area should forsake the old methods 
and adopt the technique of the Barbizon School exemplified by such 
painters as Corot and Millet, who strove to render nature in her aspects 
of light and air rather than in pictorial detail. Yet of the San Fran- 
cisco painters who came under the influence of the forerunners of Im- 
pressionism, only one seems to have gained a lasting distinction. 

William Keith (1838-1911), born in Scotland, came to California 
in 1859. Eschewing the colossal marvels so loved by Bierstadt and Hill, 
he translated the more benign aspects of the lower altitudes into turgid, 
dreamy landscapes, painted with the molasses-like impasto that was a 
fault common to the Diisseldorf School, resulting from the use of 
bitumen. He was content to paint brooding and tranquil landscapes 
the interplay of light and shade in groves of live oaks, forest glades, 
hillsides, and brooks. His style relates him somewhat to the Barbizon 
school ; his lyric tranquillity, to George Inness, who w T as his intimate 
friend. His ambition, like Vincent Van Gogh's, was to achieve with 
paint the effect of music. Often he succeeded. Unfortunately, his use 
of bitumen to achieve subtlety of tone has caused many of the paintings 
to fade into indistinctness. Keith was the only California painter to 
whom a whole room was devoted in the United States section of the 
Panama-Pacific International Exposition's Fine Arts Galleries, yet until 
recently he has remained almost unknown outside the State. At the 
Keith Memorial Gallery in St. Mary's College at Moraga and at the 
Bohemian Club in San Francisco are many of his paintings. 

The influence of Keith was strong on the minor painters who banded 
together in the Bohemian Club after its foundation in 1872. Little of 
the California sunlight is reflected in Arthur Mathews' somber work, 
but his murals in the Mechanics'-Mercantile Library, in the Lane Medi- 
cal Library, and in the Masonic Temple illustrate an architect's sense 
of values. Typical of Gottardo Piazzoni's conventionalized California 
seacoast and hill country landscapes are his Public Library murals, sub- 
dued in tone. A sincere and accomplished landscapist, Xavier TVIartinez 
settled in Piedmont to paint the quiet beauties of the East Bay hill 
country in a number of canvases owned by the Oakland Art Gallery. 
Other Bohemians were Bruce Porter, architect and mural painter; 
Charles Dickman and Henry Joseph Breuer, landscapists. 

Twenty-three local artists organized in 1871 the San Francisco Art 
Association and the following year opened headquarters in a loft-like 
gallery over a market, where as a visitor to their spring exhibitions put 
it, "Art was pervaded with the aroma of fish and the sound of the 
butcher's cleaver was heard." With a collection of casts of classic 
statuary the gift of the Republic of France to this gallant undertaking 
of culture in the Far West the association opened its school in 1874 
with Virgil Williams as master. From such humble beginnings the 


association was elevated when Edward F. Searles, who had married 
Mark Hopkins' widow, presented it in 1893 with the Nob Hill castle 
of the railroad tycoon. The house was described by Amelia Ransome 
Neville as "a mess of anachronisms. One entered portals of a feudal 
castle to pass into the court of a doge's palace, all carved Italian walnut 
with a gallery around the second story where murals of Venetian scenes 
were set between the arches. These were the work of Jules Tavernier, 
French artist, who stopped in California after a trip to the South Seas, 
where he painted long before Gaugin." In gratitude, the association 
named its school the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. 

The first California sculptor whose name reached beyond the State 
was Douglas Tilden (18601935) who, himself deaf from the age of 
five, studied in Paris with the deaf-mute sculptor Paul Chopin. At 
intersections along San Francisco's Market Street, the heroic-style com- 
memorative monuments for which he was famous overlook the passing 
traffic the Mechanics' Monument with its three brawny artisans strain- 
ing to force a huge mechanical punch through a plate of metal, the 
Native Sons' Monument with its bronze miner waving a flag, the 
Spanish War Monument with its young soldier marching beside an 
equestrian Victory. Public parks and squares are plentifully adorned 
with the sculpture of such pupils of Tilden's as Robert Ingersoll Aitken 
(1878 ), sculptor of the Victory Monument in Union Square and 
the William McKinley Monument in Golden Gate Park, and M. Earl 
Cummings (1876-1936), sculptor of the Hall McAllister Monument 
beside the City Hall and the Robert Burns Monument in Golden Gate 

To the rest of the country until recent years, however, Tilden's self- 
taught younger contemporary, Arthur Putnam (1873-1930), was almost 
the personification of California sculpture. From youthful experience 
in riding, driving cattle, working in the forest, and laboring in a South 
San Francisco slaughterhouse, Putnam gained a remarkable knowledge 
of animal life, tamed and untamed. Masterful in composition, his 
bronze lions, leopards, and pumas show close observation, a thorough 
knowledge of animal anatomy, and a sensitive feeling for rhythm and 
movement. His figures of children, rabbits, and fish equal in charm his 
savage subjects. Among his best known works are The Snarling Jaguar 
in New York's Metropolitan Museum and The Death in the Boston 
Museum. The California Palace of the Legion of Honor has a collec- 
tion of 130 of his works. 

At the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915 (where 
Putnam was represented only by an ornate mermaid fountain modelled 
from his designs described by Sheldon Cheney as "typical of the fine 
strength of his work, and at the same time appealing by the grace of its 
sinuous lines") one of his students, Ralph Stackpole, was exhibiting a 


variety of sculpture, including The Man with a Pick, which was "justly 
admired as a sincere portrayal of a simple laboring type," and an un- 
named kneeling figure by the Palace of Fine Arts lagoon, "one of the 
most appealing bits of all the Exposition sculpture, well expressing devo- 
tion and reverence." Another young San Francisco sculptor represented 
was Haig Patigian, whose bas-relief friezes and four nude male figures 
Steam Power, Invention, Electricity, and Imagination for the Palace 
of Machinery served "to carry out the sense of immensity and strength 
that characterizes the entire building," although "lacking the refinement 
that would make them interesting as something besides vigorous types." 

The wealth of sculpture and painting displayed at the 1915 exposi- 
tion was to "focus the artistic expression" of San Francisco Bay region 
artists as the art of the Columbian Exposition at Chicago had done for 
the artists of the Nation. The "far-reaching effect" of the Panama- 
Pacific Exposition, wrote Cheney, was to show "the immense value of 
coordination of all the arts . . . The great thing here is the complete 
harmony of purpose, of design, and of color, in the combined work of 
architects, sculptors, painters, and landscape gardeners." It had the 
farther-reaching effect, perhaps, of educating public taste to the point 
where for the first time local artists could begin to expect informed 
criticism of their work. 

Judging "the first definite exposition of the new point of view 
crystallized by the influence of the Panama-Pacific International Expo- 
sition," a critic of the San Francisco Art Association's Forty-second 
Annual Exhibition was pleased to note that at last "the noble lines of 
the California hills are being painted without pseudo-idealistic, romantic 
preconceptions." Comparing the canvases on view at the latter exhibi- 
tion with "previous Western 'animals'," a critic in The International 
Studio found "almost no vestige of the 'brown sauce' school of yester- 
day" and little which was "reminiscent of Keith, Whistler, and the 
Barbizon School three influences which, but a very short time ago, 
dominated the California annual exhibitions." 

In the exposition's Palace of Fine Arts, the French section had 
exhibited "a number of examples of the new and ultra-new schools, from 
Monet and Degas to Redon and Puy." During the quarter-century 
interval before San Francisco staged its next exposition, local artists 
began to modify their styles under influences even more revolutionary 
Cezanne, Van Gogh, Picasso, Rousseau, di Chirico, Dali, and the other 
godfathers of modern art. Among others, Lucien Labaudt and Jane 
Berlandina were successful in grafting the best traditions of French art 
upon the local heritage. Some of the influences were first-hand ones. 
Henri Matisse, for example, spent some time in San Francisco painting 
the Steinhart Aquarium's tropical fish. Foujita came to teach some of 
modern Japanese art's pellucid quality to a group which was naturally 


receptive to an oriental treatment of local materials. When the Mexi- 
can muralist, Diego Rivera, came to paint frescoes for the San Francisco 
Stock Exchange and the California School of Fine Arts, his influence on 
many of the local painters Victor Arnautoff, Ralph Stackpole, and 
Bernard Zakheim, among others was tremendous. The visit of Ger- 
man exile Hans Hoffman, the Munich abstractionist, to teach summer 
classes at the University of California greatly inspired a group of the 
younger East Bay artists, including Vaclav Vytlacil, Beckford Young, 
Edgar Dorsey Taylor, and Florence Swift. Hoffman became virtually 
the spiritual godfather of the East Bay group. 

Even the California School of Fine Arts (as the Mark Hopkins 
Institute of Art had been renamed upon its removal to new quarters on 
Russian Hill in 1926), which had hitherto exhibited an academic bias, 
responded suddenly to the new influences. Feeling that the kind of 
painting they had learned abroad from followers of impressionism or 
pointillism, of Puvis de Chavannes and Maurice Denis, offered no 
further promise of development, many of the painters associated with 
the school became devotees of Cezanne. Two of these, Lee Randolph 
and Spencer Macky, studied briefly in Paris in 1926 under Andre Lhote, 
teacher and exponent of Cezanne's methods. The courses given here by 
Arnold Blanch and Maurice Sterne furthered the spread of modern 
influences. Meticulous craftsmen, the painters associated with the 
School of Fine Arts have come to be characterized, as a group, by a style 
variously described as neo-classicism and modern realism. Characteristic 
of the group were the late Rinaldo Cuneo and the late Frank Van 
Sloun. Otis Oldfield, Randolph, and Macky are still associated with it. 
Ray Boynton, formerly a member of this group, is now teaching at the 
University of California. 

Aside from a series of exhibitions held at the Palace of Fine Arts 
following the 1915 exposition, no public galleries presented really com- 
prehensive collections of foreign masterpieces until 1930. Lloyd Le 
Page Rollins, appointed director of San Francisco's California Palace of 
the Legion of Honor, then made it his policy to secure traveling exhibits 
of international importance. After his resignation in 1933 his policies 
were continued, with certain unavoidable reservations, by Dr. Walter 
Heil. In 1935 the San Francisco Art Museum in the Civic Center was 
opened under the competent, dynamic leadership of Dr. Grace McCann 
Morley. It has become a living center of education and appreciation of 
modern art. The response of the public has been remarkable; attend- 
ance figures at the shows brought from New York by the museum have 
approached, and in some instances exceeded, those of the larger city. 

During the depression the earliest large government-supported mural 
job. the decoration of Coit Tower, undertaken by the Civil Works 
Administration m 1933, was a co-operative endeavor involving a number 


of San Francisco's best-known artists, including Ralph Stackpole, Ber- 
nard Zakheim, Lucien Labaudt, Victor Arnautoff, Otis Oldfield, 
Rinaldo Cuneo, John Langley Howard, William Hesthal, Jane Ber- 
landina, Ray Boynton, and Maxine Albro. The murals, which show 
principally the influence of Diego Rivera, are as a whole distinguished 
by a high level of craftsmanship. The WPA Art Project's decoration 
of the Aquatic Park Casino lobby, the work of Hilaire Hiler and his 
associates, is, to date, one of the major accomplishments of the WPA 
Art Program in the West and one of its stellar achievements nationally. 
It is significant that people come daily to the building simply to look at 
the radiant fish depicted upon these walls and marvel at the technique 
by which they are made to seem not at rest, but alive with graceful 

Of Matthew Barnes, a San Francisco painter whose genius is now 
finally achieving national recognition, William Saroyan once wrote in 
the San Francisco Call-Bulletin: "As he sees it, the world is a place 
where all who live are no more than visitors ... A lonely place. 
Earth and sea and sky, mountain and plain and tree. Sun and Moon. 
And then the places of men: road and gate and house . . . City and 
streets and the immortal visitor of the earth: yourself. Only when 
Matthew Barnes paints these places and things they begin to mean just 
a little more than they used to mean." The ultimate sources of Barnes' 
terrifying nocturnes, of the eerie realism of such studies as his Crime in 
Concrete, lie in childhood memories of Scottish folklore (he was born 
in Ayrshire in 1886) no less than in San Francisco streets seen through 
swirling fog and incandescent lamplight : 

". . . ghasties and ghoulies and four-legged beasties, 
And things that go 'whoosh' in the night . . ." 

Known for his "Westerns," vividly delineating such subjects as the 
cattle ranch, wild mustangs, the red raw canyons, is Maynard Dixon. 
Examples of his mural decorations appear at the San Francisco Water 
Department, the Kit Carson Grill, the United States Building and 
Loan Association, and the "Room of the Dons" in the Mark Hopkins 

One of the most disconcerting of painters is Bernard Zakheim, whose 
paintings are crudely drawn, beautifully designed, at once complex and 
brutal somewhat resembling the work of Jose Clemente Orozco. He 
has done a number of large murals for both public and private buildings, 
among the best known of which are those in Coit Tower, in the Jewish 
Community Center, and at the University of California Medical School. 

Ralph Stackpole has been an influence of tremendous value on 
younger men; he is responsible for a notable local school of sculpture. 
Stackpole adapts the earthy simplicity of Mayan art to themes which 


are modern but nearly always elemental. Strong simple masses, figures 
with big hands, big hips, big feet these are typical of his technique. 
His stylized, truly heroic proletarian figures cut in granite on bastions 
beside the entrance of the San Francisco Stock Exchange show his 
tendency to make sculpture an appurtenance of architecture. A domi- 
nant feature of the Golden Gate International Exposition was his 
gigantic figure, Pacifica. 

Beniamino Bufano has been at work for more than a decade on a 
statue even more tremendous his St. Francis, which has become almost 
a San Francisco legend. Bufano's use of color, of stainless steel, and 
other unorthodox media in his sculpture exhibits a daring which has 
gained him world-wide renown. An excellent example of his work is 
the majestic Sun Yat Sen, in stainless steel with a head of rose granite, 
which stands in St. Mary's Square in Chinatown. 

The bas-reliefs seen on the facade of the Aquatic Park Casino 
and wood carvings of Sargent Johnson are simple and decorative, treat- 
ing the human figure somewhat abstractly but without violent distortion. 
Other notable sculptors include Ruth Cravath, Adeline Kent, and 
Robert Howard, all represented by bas-reliefs at the San Francisco 
Stock Exchange. 

Since the late i93O 5 s a group of East Bay artists followers of the 
somewhat forbiddingly named Mural Conceptualist movement has 
attempted to express a functional inter-relationship between the arts of 
painting, design, and architecture. This new idea seems likely to enter 
the lives of more people in a more direct way than any artistic develop- 
ment since the principles of functionalism were formulated. To the 
small home-owner this may mean that the materials of which a house is 
built can have a quality more interesting than that of keeping out the 
elements. A hitherto blank wall, for example, may be enlivened by a 
decoration of common bricks incised and arranged in ingenious patterns. 
Deserting the studio, the conceptualists work with architects, carpenters, 
and masons ; and their materials are the materials of the building trades : 
concrete, metals, the new plastics, and many kinds of glass. 

All this renascence of the plastic arts in the Bay region, while con- 
stituting a local "school" only in a geographical sense, exhibits a progres- 
sive spirit which is in the best traditions of European and American art. 
The standard of criticism and appreciation, among the public generally 
and in the local press, has been raised immeasurably. Encouraging is 
the atmosphere of healthy, if sometimes violent, discussion now going 
on among the artists and their public over problems of aesthetics and 
technique. There is hope for a sound cultural tradition when people 
can get excited and angry and form factions about the sanity and signifi- 
cance of Georges Braque's The Yellow Cloth. 

Calendar of Events 

(Note: "nfd" means no fixed date] 

Jan. i 



or Feb. nfd 

Feb. 22 

3rd wk. 

Mar. 17 


or Apr. nfd 

or Apr. nfd 

or Apr. nfd 
or Apr. nfd 
or Apr. nfd 
or Apr. nfd 
or Apr. nfd 

Apr. 6 

ist 2 wks. 



San Francisco 

San Francisco 
San Francisco 


San Francisco 


San Francisco 




Lincoln Park, 

Cragmont Park, 

Mount Davidson, 

San Francisco 
San Rafael Hill, 

San Rafael 
Saratoga Summit, 


Presidio, San 

Hamilton Field, 
San Rafael 

South San Fran- 

San Francisco 
and Oakland 



San Francisco 


Shrine East-West Football 


California Dog Show 
National Match Play Open 

Golf Championship 
Open Golf Tournament 
Chinese New Year 

Old Settlers' Day 
Citrus Fair 

South of Market Boys' St. Pat- 
rick's Day Celebration 

Blossom Festival 

Annual Outdoor Bulb Show 

Redwood Empire Marathon 

Easter Sunrise Services 

Easter Sunrise Services 
Easter Sunrise Services 
Easter Sunrise Services 
Easter Sunrise Services 

Army Day (Review) 
Army Day (Air Circus) 

Interstate Livestock and Baby 

Beef Show 
Baseball Season Opens 

Annual Pistol Shoot 

Food Show 

Spring Yacht Regatta 

7 6 



Golden Gate Park, 
San Francisco 


San Francisco 

and May nfd 

Mira Monte Park, 


or May nfd 


or May nfd 


or May nfd 


or May nfd 


or May nfd 

San Rafael 

May i 

Golden Gate Park, 

San Francisco 


San Anselmo 


Calero Reservoir, 

Santa Clara Co. 


San Jose 

3rd wk. 

Lincoln Park, 


3rd wk. 

San Jose 

3rd Sun. 

Mount Tamalpais 


Lake Merritt, 



San Francisco 








Redwood City 




San Rafael 


St. Helena 

or June nfd 


June 1st wk. 


1st wk. 


ist wk. 

Santa Rosa 

and wk. 


3rd wk. 











San Mateo 


San Rafael 

Japanese Cherry Blossom Fes- 

Wild Flower Show 
Iris Blooming Season 

Tamalpais Center Flower 


Spring Flower Show 
California Spring Garden Show 
Blossom Festival 
Annual Art Exhibit 

Children's May Day Festival 

May Day Festival 
Motorboat Regatta 

Hobby Fair 

May Day Celebration 

Fiesta de las Rosas 
Mountain Theater Play 
Memorial Day Motorboat 


Memorial Day Parade 
Kiddies' Play Day Parade 

Mills College Horse Show 
Pet Parade 

Fiesta and Horse Show 
Horse Show 

Napa County 4 H Club Fair 

Early Days Fiesta 

Sportsmen's Carnival 



Sonoma Rodeo 

Scandinavian Midsummer Day 

Apricot Festival 
Soap Box Derby 
Gladiolus Show 
Gymkhana Club Horse Show 
Dog Show 



July ist wk. 





Lake Merritt, 



San Francisco 


San Francisco 


San Francisco 

or Aug. nfd 


Silverado Fair and Horse Show 

Celebration, Horse Show 

Fireworks and Motorboat Re- 


Bastille Day Celebration 

Soap Box Derby 

Sonoma-Marin Agricultural 

Aug. 2nd wk. 
4th wk. 

3 1 -Sept. 2 





Berkeley Yacht 

San Francisco 
San Francisco 
San Leandro 
Santa Rosa 

or Sept. nfd Pittsburg 

Sept. 9 

1st wk. 
3rd wk. 




or Oct. nfd 
or Oct. nfd 

Oct. 12 


3rd wk. 


Throughout Bay 


San Francisco 
Bay Meadows 



Lake Merritt, 

Richardson Bay 
St. Helena 
San Jose 

San Jose 
San Rafael 

Lake Merritt, 

San Francisco 
San Francisco 


San Mateo Horse Show 
Alameda County Fair and 

Fiesta del Vino 
Round-Up and Gymkhana 
Contra Costa County Fair 
Berkeley Regatta 

Harbor Day 

Dahlia and Flower Show 

Dahlia Show 

Sonoma County Fair and Horse 

Western Horse Show 

Admission Day Celebration 

Labor Day Parade 

San Mateo County Fiesta and 

Old Timers' Celebration 

Pacific Coast Tennis Cham- 
pionship Tournament 

Fall Flower Show 

Outboard Motor Races 

Yacht Regatta 
Vintage Festival 
Fiesta de las Rosas Golf Tour- 

Santa Clara Valley Fair 
Old San Rafael Days Fiesta 

Columbus Day Festival and 
Motorboat Regatta 

Columbus Day Festival 

Grand National Livestock Ex- 

Parade of the Witches 



Nov. ii 




Dec. ist wk. 


4th wk. 

4th wk. 


Bay Meadows 
San Francisco 
San Francisco 

Mill Valley 

San Francisco 
Santa Rosa 

Berkeley, Even 

Palo Alto, Odd 


San Francisco 

Santa Rosa 

San Francisco 

San Francisco 

Santa Rosa 
St. Helena 

Opening Horse Racing Season 
Opening Grand Opera Season 
Opening Symphony Season 
Santa Cruz County Fair 

Marin County Armistice Day 

Armistice Day Parade 
Armistice Day Parade 
Sonoma County Armistice Day 

California-Stanford Big Game 

Winter Poultry, Pigeon, Ban- 
tam, and Rabbit Show 

Santa Clara-St. Mary's Foot- 
ball Game 

Cat Show 

Lighting of Cedar of Lebanon 
Tree Marking Luther Bur- 
bank's Grave 

Christmas Pageant 

New Year's Eve Celebration 

Outdoor Christmas Tree Dis- 

Outdoor Christmas Tree Dis- 

Christmas Fiesta 

Christmas Festival 

; "The City" 


General Information 

Information Service: Better Business Bureau, 15 Stockton St. Cali- 
fornia State Automobile Assn. (A. A. A.), 150 Van Ness Ave. Calif or- 
nians, Inc., 703 Market St. National Auto Club, 228 Pine St. Red- 
wood Empire Assn., 85 Post St. San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, 
333 Pine St. San Francisco Hotel Assn., 821 Market St. Shell 
Travel Bureau, 102 Bush St. State Chamber of Commerce, 350 Bush 
St. State Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 160 Van Ness Ave. S. State 
Park Commission, 417 Montgomery St. Travelers' Aid, Ferry Bldg. 
U. S. Forest Service, 760 Market St. U. S. Travel Bureau, 461 
Market St. Out-of-town telephone directories at: Telephone Bldg., 
444 Bush St., and pay stations, 104 Powell St.; Emporium, 835 Market 
St.; Roos Bros., O'Farrell St. entrance (near Stockton St.) ; and several 
hotels. Reference library information bureaus (limited service) : Call- 
Bulletin, Examiner, News. For correct time call ROchester 8900. 

Railroad Stations: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Ry., bus connec- 
tions at 44~4th St. ; ticket office, 235 Geary St. Northwestern Pacific 
R. R., Ferry Bldg.; ticket office, 65 Market St. Southern Pacific R. R., 
Ferry Bldg. Sacramento Northern Ry., Bay Bridge Terminal, 1st and 
Mission Sts. Southern Pacific R. R., 3rd and Townsend Sts., and 
Ferry Bldg.; main ticket office, 65 Geary St. Western Pacific R. R., 
Ferry Bldg. ; ticket office, 287 Geary St. 

Bus Stations: Abbott Lines, 85~4th St. Airline Bus Co., 55~5th St.; 
main office, 1188 Harrison St. All American Bus Lines, Inc., 40 Eddy 
St. Dollar Bus Lines, 781 Market St. Pacific Greyhound Lines, 75- 
5th St. Burlington Trailways, Gibson Lines, Key System, Napa Val- 
ley Bus Co., National Trailways System, River Auto Stages Co., 
Sacramento Northern, and Santa Fe Trailways Bus System (main office, 
85-5 th St.), 44-4th St. 

Sightseeing Buses: Gray Line, 781 Market St. Several private 
limousine stands near Union Square. 

Airports: Municipal Airport (Mills Field), 13 m. S. on US 101 
Bypass, for United Airlines and TWA. Treasure Island for Pan 
American Airways; office, 427 Post St. Taxis to Municipal Airport, 
$3.oo-$3.5O; time 30 min. 



Taxis: 25^ first 1/3 m., 10^' each additional 2/5 m. 

Streetcars and Buses: Local: California St. Cable Ry., 5$, Market 
St. Ry., 7^, Municipal Ry., 5$; free transfers. Jitneys (privately 
owned) from downtown to County line, 10^. Interurban: Trans-Bay 
electric trains to East Bay, 21^, round trip 42^. Market St. Ry. 
down Peninsula to San Mateo, 25^. Pacific Greyhound and North- 
western Pacific to Marin County cities. Southern Pacific to southern 
Peninsula cities. 

Bridges: San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge approaches: 5th and 
Bryant Sts. and Fremont and Harrison Sts. ; toll 25^ (i to 5 passen- 
gers), 5^ for each additional passenger; no pedestrians. Golden Gate 
Bridge approaches: Marina Blvd. and Baker St., Lombard and Brod- 
erick Sts., Lake St. and Park Presidio Blvd. (Presidio Tunnel); toll 
50^ (i to 5 passengers), 5^ for each additional passenger; pedestrians 
10^ within turnstiles. 

Piers: Embarcadero, foot of Market St. For travel information con- 
sult travel bureaus or steamship companies. 

Traffic Regulations: Speed limit 25 m.p.h. in business and residential 
districts. No U-turn in business district. No left-turn on Market St. 
east of Van Ness Ave. No parking on Market St. 7 a.m. -6 p.m. No 
parking in central traffic district (bounded by Mission and California 
Sts., 1st and Taylor Sts.) 8-9:30 a.m. and 4:30-6 p.m. Parking limit 
varies (see street signs). Right-turn against red light outside business 
district after full stop and if pedestrian lane is clear. 

Radio Stations: KSFO (CBS, 560 kc.), 639 Market St. KPO 
(NBC red network, 680 kc.), and KGO (NBC blue network, 790 
kc.), in Sutter St. KROW (some NBC broadcasts, 930 kc.), 505 
Geary St. KFRC (Don Lee Mutual Broadcasting System, 610 kc.), 
1000 Van Ness Ave. KJBS (Northern California Broadcasting Sys- 
tem, 1070 kc.), 1470 Pine St. KSAN (McClatchy Broadcasting Sys- 
tem, 1420 kc.), 1355 Market St. KYA (1230 kc.), 5~3rd St. 

Motion Picture Houses (only doiuntown theaters are listed. Box 
offices are o'pen approximately from II a.m. to 10 p.m., except Sat. 
when first-run houses have midnight showings) : First-Run: Fox, 1350 
Market St.; Paramount, 1966 Market St.; St. Francis, 965 Market 
St.; Warfield, 988 Market St.; Golden Gate (with vaudeville), Golden 
Gate Ave. and Taylor St. ; Orpheum, Market and Hyde Sts. ; United 
Artists, 1077 Market St. Second-Run (only the larger theaters are 


listed) : California, 4th and Market Sts. ; Davies, 934 Market St.; New 
Embassy, 1125 Market St. Newsreel: Telenews, Market St. near 
Powell St.; The Newsreel, 980 Market St. Foreign Language: Clay, 
2261 Fillmore St.; Larkin, 816 Larkin St.; Princess, 1584 Church St.; 
Verdi, 644 Broadway; Vogue, 3290 Sacramento St. 

Legitimate Theaters: Curran, 445 Geary St.; Geary, 407 Geary St. 

Amateur and Little Theaters: Andre Ferrier Art Theater, 1470 
Washington St., productions in French; Children's Theater Associa- 
tion, High School of Commerce Auditorium; Fairmont Hotel, 950 
Mason St. ; Girl's Club, 362 Capp St. ; Jewish Community Playhouse, 
California St. and Presidio Ave. ; Theater Arts Colony, 1725 Washing- 
ton St.; Wayfarers Playhouse, 1740 Clay St. 

Burlesque Theaters: Capitol Follies, 50 Ellis St.; Kearny, 825 Kearny 
St.; Liberty, 649 Broadway. 

Concert Halls: Civic Auditorium, Grove St. between Polk and Larkin 
Sts.; Community Playhouse, 609 Sutter St.; Opera House (War Me- 
morial), Van Ness Ave. at Grove St.; Scottish Rite Auditorium, Van 
Ness Ave. at Sutter St.; Veteran's Building (War Memorial), Van 
Ness Ave. at McAllister St. 

Dance Halls (The following list includes only public dance halls. One 
also may dance at the larger hotels, in many night clubs, and at fraternal 
halls): Avalon Ball Room, 1268 Sutter St., open 8-12:30 nightly 
except Mon. and Wed., 8-1 Sat., popular and old-fashioned dances. 
Knights of Columbus Hall, 150 Golden Gate Ave., Sat. nights only, 
8-12:30, modern and old-fashioned dancing. Wolohan's Ball Room, 
1319 Market St., open 8-12 Sun., Mon., Wed., Fri.; 8-12:30 Sat. El 
Patio Ball Room, 1545 Market St., open 8-12:30 nightly except Mon. 
and Wed. 

Night Clubs (Clubs close at 2 a.m. It is illegal to sell liquor between 
2 and 6 a.m.): Alabam, i82oA Post St., Negro; short orders, a la 
carte; dancing. 

Bal Tabarin, 1025 Columbus Ave., dinner, floor show, dancing. 
Beachcomber, 142 Francisco St.; dinner, floor shows Wed., Fri., Sat. 
Chinese Sky Room, 605 Pine St. ; Chinese ; dinner ; floor show Sat. ; 

Finocchio's, 506 Broadway; no dinner; floor show (female imperson- 


Forbidden City, 363 Sutter St. ; Chinese ; minimum charge ; dinner, all- 
Chinese floor show; no dinner nor floor show on Sun. 
John's Rendezvous, 50 Osgood PL ; minimum charge ; floor show, 

La Conga, 525 Pacific St.; Cuban; dinner, floor show. 
La Fiesta, 553 Bay St.; marimba band; dinner, floor show; closed Mon. 
Lido, 915 Columbus Ave. ; luncheon dances, Thurs. 1-4 p.m., Sat. 1-4 
p.m. ; minimum charge ; dinner, dancing, floor show ; closed Tues. 
Moderne, 555 Sutter St.; minimum charge; dinner, floor show. 
Monaco, 560 Pacific St. ; dinner, floor show. 

Music Box, 859 O'Farrell St.; minimum charge; dinner, floor show. 
Roberts-at-the-Beach, 2200 Great Highway; dinner, dancing. 
Royal Hawaiian, 960 Bush St.; minimum charge; dinner, floor show; 
closed Mon. 

Sinaloa, 1416 Powell St.; dinner, floor show. 
South Seas, 540 Sutter St.; dinner, entertainment. 
Streets of Paris, 54 Mason St. ; dinner, entertainment ; closed Sun. 
Tahitian Hut, 99 Broadway; dinner, all-Tahitian floor show. 
Three Six Five, 365 Market St.; minimum charge; dinner, floor show. 
Tiny's Embassy, 2766 Taylor St. ; minimum charge ; dinner, floor show. 


San Francisco has 1,326 hotels and rooming houses more per capita, 
it is said, than any other city in the world. The following list is con- 
fined to hotels in the area bounded by Market Street on the south, Bush 
Street on the north, Grant Avenue on the east, and Larkin Street on 
the west. Space limitation forbids inclusion of hundreds of lower-price 

Luxury-Class Hotels: Clift, 495 Geary St.; Fairmont, 950 Mason 
St.; Mark Hopkins, 999 California St.; Palace, 639 Market St.; St. 
Francis, 335 Powell St. ; Sir Francis Drake, 450 Powell St. 

Medium-Rate Hotels: Alexander Hamilton, 631 O'Farrell St.; Am- 
bassador, 55 Mason St.; Baldwin, 321 Grant Ave.; Bellevue, 505 Geary 
St.; Beresford, 635 Sutter St.; Biltmore, 735 Taylor St.; Bristol, 56 
Mason St.; Californian, 405 Taylor St.; Canterbury, 750 Sutter St.; 
Carlton, 1075 Sutter St.; Cartwright, 524 Sutter St.; Casa Nova, 354 
O'Farrell St.; Cecil, 545 Post St.; Chancellor, 433 Powell St.; Colo- 
nial, 650 Bush St.; Commodore, 825 Sutter St.; Cordova, 521 Post St.; 
Court, 555 Bush St.; Crane, 245 Powell St.; Dalt, 34 Turk St.; Daven- 
port, 540 Jones St.; Devonshire, 335 Stockton St.; Drake- Wiltshire, 
340 Stockton St.; El Cortez, 550 Geary St. 


Empire, 100 McAllister St.; Fielding, 386 Geary St.; Franciscan, 350 
Geary St. ; Gaylord, 620 Jones St. ; Glen Royal, 940 Sutter St. ; Golden 
State, 114 Powell St.; Harvard, 685 Ellis St.; Herald, 308 Eddy St.; 
Herbert, 161 Powell St.; King George, 334 Mason St.; LaFayette, 
240 Hyde St.; LaSalle, 225 Hyde St.; Lyric, 140 Jones St.; Manx, 225 
Powell St.; Mark Twain, 345 Taylor St.; Maurice, 761 Post St.; 
Mayflower, 975 Bush St.; New Continental, 127 Ellis St.; Olympic, 
230 Eddy St.; Oxford, 16 Turk St. 

Padre, 241 Jones St.; Palomar, 364 O'Farrell St.; Plaza, 310 Post St.; 
Powell, 17 Powell St.; Roosevelt, 240 Jones St.; San Carlos, 811 Geary 
St.; Senate, 467 Turk St.; Senator, 519 Ellis St.; Shaw, 1112 Market 
St.; Sheldon, 629 Post St.; Somerton, 440 Geary St.; Springer, 615 
Taylor St. ; Stewart, 353 Geary St. ; Stratford, 242 Powell St. ; Sussex, 
701 Sutter St.; Travelers, 255 O'Farrell St.; Vanderbilt, 221 Mason 
St.; Victoria, 598 Bush St.; Virginia, 312 Mason St.; Washington, 
342 Grant Ave.; Whitcomb, 1231 Market St.; Willard, 161 Ellis St.; 
Worth, 641 Post St. 

Hotels for Women: Emanu-El Sisterhood, 300 Page St.; Evangeline 
Residence, 44 McAllister St.; Women's Hotel, 642 Jones St. The 
following rent by the week only: Girls' Friendly Society Lodge, 1590 
Sutter St.; Girls' Recreation Home Club, 557 Van Ness Ave., S.; 
Glide, 322 Ellis St.; Mary Elizabeth Inn, 1040 Bush St.; St. Mar- 
garet's Club, 1499 California St. 

Apartment Hotels (The following list includes only those offering 
weekly accommodations): Clifton, 520 Taylor St.; El Cortez, 550 
Geary St.; Huntington, 1075 California St.; Keystone, 1369 Hyde St.; 
Worth, 745 Hyde St. 

Y.M.C.A/S and Y.W.C.A.'S: Y.M.C.A., 220 Golden Gate Ave.; 
Y.M.C.A. Hotel (for men, women, and families), 351 Turk St.; 
Y.M.C.A. Chinese Branch, 855 Sacramento St.; Y.M.C.A. Army and 
Navy Branch, 166 Embarcadero. 

Y.W.C.A., 620 Sutter St.; Y.W.C.A. Chinese Branch, 965 Clay St.; 
Y.W.C.A. Japanese Branch (women under 35 only), 1830 Sutter St. 

Tourist Camps: Marina Motel, 2576 Lombard St.; Ocean Park 
Motor Court, 46th and Wawona Sts. ; San Francisco Auto Court, 701 
Sunnydale Ave. Other courts are located south of the city limits on 
US 101, US 101 Bypass, and State I. 



(Each establishment has a public or service bar unless otherwise stated.} 

Downtown: Bay City Grill, 45 Turk St., a la carte; Bernstein's Fish 
Grotto, 123 Powell St.; Bit of Sweden, 560 Sutter St.; Blue Lagoon, 
153 Maiden Lane; Breen's, 7i-3rd St., a la carte; Cairo (Armenian), 
77~4th St., a la carte, no liquor; California Inn (German), 600 Turk 
St.; Charles Fashion Grill (Italian), 243 O'Farrell St.; Collins & 
Wheeland, 347 Montgomery St.; Diller's Hungarian Kosher Style, 126 
Turk St., beer and wine; Famous RKO Grill, 35 Taylor St.; Fly Trap, 
73 Sutter St.; Forbidden City (Chinese and American), 363 Sutter St., 
closed Sun.; Girard's French, 65 Ellis St.; Golden Pheasant, Powell 
at Geary St.; Hawaiian Paradise, 67A-ist St.; Jacinto (Mexican), 
67 Turk St., wine; John's Grill, 63 Ellis St.; Kit Carson, 395 Geary 
St.; La Buvette, 134 Maiden Lane; Louis' Fashion (French-Italian), 
526 Market St.; Madrid (Spanish), 165 O'FarreH St., wine; Maison 
Paul, 1214 Market St.; Marconi (French-Italian), 241 Pine St.; Mario 
& Frank's (Italian), 225 California St., closed Sun.; Mayes Oyster 
House, 531 California St., a la carte; Mayfair, 116 Maiden Lane, no 
liquor; Omar Khayyam (Armenian), 196 O'Farrell St.; Oyster Loaf, 
30 Kearny St.; Pierre's (French), 447 Pine St.; Pig'nWhistle, 33 
Powell St., 621 Market St., 130 Post St. and 1032 Market St.; Prizer's 
Hungarian Kosher, 89 Turk St. ; Roundhouse, Toll Plaza, Golden Gate 
Bridge, beer; Russian Tea Room, 326 Sutter St., closed Mon., wine and 
beer; Ruth's, 333 Sutter St., health food, no liquor; Solari's, 354 Geary 
St.; St. Julian (French), 140 Battery St.; Temple Bar, 25 Tillman 
PL; Three Musketeers (German), 200 Hyde St. 

Historic San Francisco: Blue Fox (Italian), 659 Merchant St.; Jack's 
(French), 615 Sacramento St.; Manger (Italian), 611 Washington 
St.; Old Grotto (Italian), 545 Washington St.; Schroeder's (German), 
in Front St.; Tadich Grill, 545 Clay St.; William Tell (German- 
Swiss), 630 Clay St., dancing nightly. 

Chinatown: Cathay House, 718 California St.; Far East, 631 Grant 
Ave. ; Hang Far Low, 723 Grant Ave., beer; Lotus Bowl, 626 Grant 
Ave., no liquor; Manila (Filipino), 606 Jackson St., no liquor; Shangai 
Low, 532 Grant Ave.; Sun Hung Heung, 744 Washington St.; Tao 
Tao, 675 Jackson St. ; Universal, 824 Washington St., wine and beer ; 
Yamato Hotel (Japanese), 717 California St., sake and beer; Yamato, 
562 Grant Ave.; Yee Jun's, 834 Washington St., beer. 

North Beach: Aquatic Park Casino, foot of Polk St.; Backyard 
(Italian), 1024 Kearny St.; Ernie's (Italian and French), 847 Mont- 


gomery St.; Globe (Spanish, French and Italian), 771 Broadway; 
House That Jack Built (Costa Rican), 2014 Grant Ave. ; Jai-Alai 
(Basque), 895 Pacific St.; Julius Castle (Italian), 302 Greenwich St.; 
John's Rendezvous, 50 Osgood PL; Hotel Espanol (Basque), 719 
Broadway; La Favorite (French), 825 Pacific St.; Lucca's (Italian), 
405 Francisco St.; Lupo's Pizzeria (Italian), 1942 Kearny St.; New 
Joe's (Italian), 536 Broadway, wine and beer; New Tivoli (French- 
Italian), 1438 Grant Ave.; Ripley's (French), 846 Jackson St.; Riviera 
(French-Italian), Union and Stockton Sts. ; Shadows, 1349 Mont- 
gomery St., closed Mon. ; Sinaloa (Mexican), 1416 Powell St.; Va- 
nessi's (Italian), 498 Broadway; Veneto's (Italian), 389 Bay St.; 
Xochimilco (Mexican), 1350 Powell St. 

International Settlement: La Conga (Mexican-Spanish), 523 Pacific 
St.; Monaco (French-Italian), 560 Pacific St.; Rice Bowl (Chinese), 
555 Pacific St. 

Fisherman s Wharf: Fisherman's Grotto, 9 Fisherman's Wharf; Joe 
Di Maggio's, Fisherman's Wharf; Neptune Fish Grotto, 2737 Taylor 
St.; Pop-Eye Fish Grotto, 2770 Taylor St. 

Western Addition: Cherryland Sukiyaki (Japanese and American), 
1650 Post St., sake and beer; El Portal, 8th Ave. and Fulton St.; 
Grison's Chicken House, 2050 Van Ness Ave. ; Grison's Steak and Chop 
House, Van Ness and Pacific Aves. ; Jack's Tavern ( Negro Southern 
cooking), 1931 Sutter St.; Russian (private residence), 1850 Geary St., 
open 4-8 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-i p.m. Sun., no liquor; Salad Bowl, 
5616 Geary St.; Swedish Applied Arts Sveagard, 2016 Pacific St., open 
to public 7 p.m. Thurs. and Fri. by reservation, no liquor; Tenkatsu 
Mikayi (Japanese), 1762 Buchanan St., sake and wine. 

Beach: Cliff House, Point Lobos Ave. (overlooking Seal Rocks) ; 
Topsy's Roost (Southern cooking), 660 Great Highway, open Fri., 
Sat., and Sun. nights; Robert's, 220 Great Highway. 


For information, or further information, about archery, baseball, basketball, 
cricket, cycling, flycasting, football, handball, harness horse racing, horseshoe 
pitching, lawn bowling, polo, riding, softball, and tennis, see GOLDEN GATE 

Badminton: Burke Gymnasium, 2350 Geary St.; Palace of Fine Arts, 
Baker St. near Marina Blvd. 

Baseball: Seals Stadium, Bryant and i6th Sts. (Pacific Coast League) ; 
season, Apr. 1st to Sept. I5th. 


Basketball: Y.M.C.A., Golden Gate Ave. and Leavenworth St. 

Billiards (Only downtown parlors listed} : California Billiard Parlor, 
1028 Market St.; Cochran and Palm Billiard Palace, 924 Market St.; 
Ferry Pool Room, 82 Embarcadero; Harvard Billiard and Pool Parlor, 
36 Kearny St. ; San Francisco Billiard Parlor, 949 Market St. ; Wal- 
dorf Billiard Parlor, 165 Eddy St.; Wright's Billiard Palace, 82 
Ellis St. 

Bowling: Bagdad Bowling Alleys, 1641 Ellis St.; Fillmore Recreation 
Bowling Dome, 1515 Eddy St.; Golden Gate Recreation, 115 Jones 
St.; Hub Bowling Alley, 1671 Market St.; Powell Street Recreation, 
115 Powell St.; Rialto Bowling Bowl, 80 Ellis St. Bowling greens 
and facilities for public bowling are maintained by the city at Funston 
Field, in the Marina ; at Julius Kahn Playground, Pacific Ave. between 
Spruce and Laurel Sts. ; and at Rossi Playground, Arguello Blvd. at 
Anza St. 

Boxing: Civic Auditorium, Grove and Larkin Sts. ; National Hall, 
1975 Mission St.; Coliseum Bowl, 45-1 ith St. 

Cricket: Julius Kahn Playground. 

Cycling: Bicycle-renting establishments, Great Highway and Wawona 
Sts., near Fleishhacker Pool; 3214 Fillmore St.; 1823 Haight St.; 
2218 and 222O Lombard St.; 638, 672, 780 and 854 Stanyan St. 
Cycling permitted on the Golden Gate Bridge; toll-charge 10^ per 

Fishing: Lake Merced, free; Municipal Pier at Aquatic Park, N. 
end of Van Ness Ave., free; Water-front piers and Mission Rock near 
foot of Third St., free. 

Football: Roberts Field, I5th and Valencia Sts. 

Golf: Harding Park Municipal Golf Course, 36th Ave. at Sunset 
Blvd.; 18 holes and 6-hole practice course; 75^ weekdays, $1.00 Sat., 
Sun., holidays; monthly ticket $3.00. Ingleside Public Golf Course, 
Junipero Serra Blvd. and 19th Ave.; 18 holes; 75^ Mon.-Fri., $1.25 
Sun., holidays; Sat., 75^ before u, $1.25 11-4, 50^ after 4; monthly 
$3.00. Lincoln Park Municipal Golf Links, 33rd Ave. and Clement 
St.; 1 8 holes; 50^ weekdays, 75^ Sat., Sun., holidays. 

Private Golf Courses: Olympic Club Golf Course (Lakeside Golf 
Club), Skyline Blvd. Presidio Golf Club, in the Presidio (U. S. 


Military Reservation). San Francisco Golf and Country Club, Juni- 
pero Serra Blvd. 

Gymnasiums: Burke Gymnasium, 2350 Geary St.; Y.M.C.A., 22O 
Golden Gate Ave.; Young Men's Institute, 50 Oak St.; Y.W.C.A., 
620 Sutter St. 

Handball: Burke Gymnasium; Y.M.C.A., 220 Golden Gate Ave. 

Ice Hockey: Winterland, Steiner and Post Sts. ; occasional series of 

Ice Skating: Sutro Baths and Ice Rink, Point Lobos Ave. near Great 
Highway; 25^ afternoons, 35^ eve. and Sun.; 15$ extra for skates, 
children's skates free afternoons except Sun. Winterland, Steiner and 
Post Sts.; 40^ mornings, 55^ eve.; 25^ extra for skates. 

Riding: Bakers Beach and the Presidio, Hunter's Point, John Mc- 
Laren Park, Lake Merced, and Ocean Beach. Average charge for 
horses $1.50 first hour, 75^ each additional hour. Riding Clubs and 
Academies. Hunter's Point Stables, 415 Galvez St.; Bay View Stables, 
950 Palou Ave.; Paramount Riding Academy, 317 Broderick St.; 
Roberts Beach Riding Academy, 2232-481!! Ave.; St. Francis Riding 
School, 7Oi-7th Ave.; San Francisco Riding School, 734 Stanyan St.; 
Lake Merced Riding Club, Mission Riding Club, Hollywood Riding 
Stable, in Colma (just south of city limits). 

Roller Skating: Ambassador, Fillmore and Geary Sts.; open 2-5 p.m., 
7:30-10:30 p.m.; adm. : women 25^, men 35^, 10^ less for men bring- 
ing own skates. Burke Gymnasium, Sat. and Sun. afternoons, and 
every evening; adm. 25^. Civic Auditorium, occasional six-day derbys. 

Rugby Football: Ewing Field, Masonic Ave. and Anza St. 

Sheet and Trap Shooting: Lake Merced Field, Skyline Blvd.; com- 
petitions, usually Sun. 

Softball: Margaret S. Hayward Playground, Golden Gate Ave. and 
Gough Sts. (night play) ; Roberts Field, I5th and Valencia Sts. (night 

Swimming: Municipal Outdoor Pools (open Apr. i-Oct. 31) : Fleish- 
hacker Pool, Sloat Blvd. and Great Highway; adm. 25^, children 15$. 
Mission Pool (children only), I9th and Angelica Sts.; adm. 5^. North 


Beach Pool (children only), Lombard and Mason Sts. ; adm. 5^. Pri- 
vately Owned Pools. Crystal Plunge and Baths, Lombard and Taylor 
Sts. Fairmont Plunge, 950 Mason St. Sutro Baths, Point Lobos Ave. 
near Great Highway. Y.M.C.A., 220 Golden Gate Ave. Y.W.C.A., 
620 Sutter St. Surf Bathing. Aquatic Park, foot of Polk St. Ocean 
Beach (undertow dangerous). 

Tennis: Municipal courts at 44 recreation centers. Among them are : 
Clement Courts (4), 3Oth Ave. near Clement St.; Crocker-Amazon 
Playground (6), Geneva Ave. and Moscow St.; Funston Playground 
(4), Chestnut and Buchanan Sts.; Jefferson Square (4), Golden Gate 
Ave. and Gough St.; Julius Kahn Playground (4), Pacific Ave. be- 
tween Spruce and Laurel Sts.; Richmond Tennis Courts (5), 8th Ave. 
between Clement and California Sts.; all free. Fine Arts Courts (18), 
foot of Lyon St.; $1.00 per hour per court, day or night. 

Water Polo: Crystal Plunge and Baths, Lombard and Taylor Sts.; 
Fairmont Plunge, 950 Mason St.; Fleishhacker Pool, Sloat Blvd. and 
Great Highway. 

Wrestling: Civic Auditorium, Grove and Larkin Sts.; Y.M.C.A., 
Golden Gate Ave. and Leavenworth St. 

Yachting: Municipal Yacht Harbor, Marina Blvd. between Pierce 
and Baker Sts. 


(Only representative churches of most denominations are listed below.) 

Baptist: Chinese Baptist Mission, 15 Waverly PL; First, Waller and 
Octavia Sts. ; First Russian, 904 Rhode Island St. ; Hamilton Square, 
1975 Post St. 

Buddhist: Hongwanji Buddhist Mission of North America, 1881 Pine 
St.; Nichiren, 1860 Buchanan St.; Sokoji Mission, 1881 Bush St. 

Christian: First, Duboce and Noe Sts.; West Side, 2520 Bush St. 

Christian Science: First Church, 1700 Franklin St.; Fifth Church, 
450 O'Farrell St.; Seventh Church, 940 Powell St. 

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Mission Ward, 2668 
Mission St.; San Francisco Ward, 1649 Hayes St. 

Congregational-Methodist: Chinese, 21 Brenham PL; Grace United 
Church of the Mission, 21 st and Capp Sts.; Park Presidio United, 4319 
Geary St. ; Temple, Post and Mason Sts. 


Episcopal: Church of the Advent, 261 Fell St.; Grace Cathedral, 1122 
California St.; St. Francis, San Fernando Way at Ocean Ave. ; St. 
Luke's, 1750 Van Ness Ave.; Seamen's Church Institute, 58 Clay St.; 
Trinity, Bush and Gough Sts. 

Evangelical and Reformed: Bethel, 2005 I5th St.; St. John's Com- 
munity, 2041 Larkin St. 

Free Methodist: Free Methodist, 985 Golden Gate Ave. 

Greek Orthodox: United Greek Church of the Annunciation, 245 
Valencia St.; Holy Trinity, 345~7th St. 

Hebrew Reformed: Congregation Emanu-El, Arguello Blvd. and Lake 
St. ; Congregation Sherith Israel, 2010 Webster St. 

Hebrew Orthodox: Congregation Anshi Sfard, 1140 Golden Gate 
Ave.; Congregation Beth Israel, 1839 Geary St.; Congregation Ohabai 
Sholome, 35i-4th Ave. 

Lutheran: Anzar Danish Evangelical, 152 Church St.; Ebenezer 
Evangelical, 200 Dolores St.; First English, Geary St. between Gough 
and Octavia Sts.; First Finnish Evangelical, I4th and Belcher Sts.; 
Norwegian, 615 Dolores St. 

Methodist: First, Larkin and Clay Sts.; Glide Memorial, 322 Ellis 
St.; Japanese, 1359 Pine St.; St. John's Italian, 756 Union St.; United 
German, 240 Page St. 

Presbyterian: Calvary, 2501 Fillmore St.; Chinese, 925 Stockton St.; 
First, Van Ness Ave. and Sacramento St, ; Mizpah (Spanish), 725 
Folsom St.; Welsh, 449-14^ St. 

Roman Catholic: Church of the Nativity (Slavonian), 240 Fell St.; 
Holy Family Chinese Mission, 902 Stockton St. ; Mission Dolores, 300 
Dolores St.; Notre Dame des Victoires (French), 566 Bush St.; 
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Spanish), Broadway and Mason Sts.; 
Old St. Mary's (Paulist), California St. and Grant Ave.; St. Anne's, 
810 Judah St.; St. Boniface (Franciscan), 151 Golden Gate Ave.; St. 
Dominic's (Dominican), 1901 Steiner St.; St. Francis of Assisi, 620 
Vallejo St.; St. Ignatius (Jesuit), Fulton St. and Parker Ave.; St. 
Mary's Cathedral, Van Ness Ave. and O'Farrell St.; St. Patrick's, 
750 Mission St.; SS. Peter and Paul (Italian), 650 Filbert St. 

Russian Orthodox: Holy Trinity Cathedral, Van Ness Ave. and 
Green St.; Holy Virgin, Fulton St. near Fillmore St. 


Salvation Army : Chinatown, Waverly PL and Sacramento St. ; San 
Francisco Citadel, 95 McCoppin St.; Waterfront, 38 Commercial St. 

Seventh Day Adventist: Central, California and Broderick Sts. ; Rus- 
sian, 878 Rhode Island St.; Tabernacle (Negro), Bush and Baker Sts. 

Unitarian: First, Franklin and Geary Sts. 

United Presbyterian: First, 1455 Golden Gate Ave. ; Stewart Memo- 
rial (Second United), 1076 Guerrero St. 

Miscellaneous: Apostolic Faith Mission, 749 Market St.; Art of Liv- 
ing, 609 Sutter St.; Bahai Assembly, 620 Sutter St., in Y.W.C.A.; 
Bethel Full Gospel Assembly, 3811 Mission St.; Church of Christ, 
302 Jules Ave.; Church of God, 3718 Army St.; Father Divine Peace 
Mission, 821 Pacific Ave.; First Russian Molakan, 841 Carolian St.; 
Glad Tidings Temple, 1441 Ellis St.; "I Am," 133 Powell St.; Light- 
house Full Gospel Mission (Negro), 1905 Sutter St.; New Jerusalem 
(Swedenborgian), 2107 Lyon St.; Rosicrucian Brotherhood AMORC, 
1655 Post St.; Society of Progressive Spiritualists, 2126 Sutter St.; 
Sufi Movement, 545 Sutter St.; Theosophical Society, 414 Mason St., 
Native Sons Bldg.; Unity Temple, 126 Post St.; Vedanta Society, 
Webster and Filbert Sts. ; Volunteers of America, 23O-9th St. 

San Franciscans: 

"Nowhere in America is there less in evidence the cold theo- 
loffical eye, the cautious hand withheld, the lifted eyebrow, the 
distrust of playfulness . . " 


TO SHARE with San Franciscans their feeling for the city's elu- 
sive identity that prevailing atmosphere which is to San Fran- 
cisco what dynamic tempo is to New York, what Old World 
charm is to New Orleans a visitor does best to wander about its streets. 
The city has a look of incredible venerability. What remains of the 
old San Francisco the roaring boom town of the Argonauts, the 
Barbary Coast, and the bonanza days consists mainly of a handful of 
once proud business buildings, crumbling and obscure, that somehow 
belie their conversion to modern usage by their appearance of having 
withstood the passage of an era of violence and romance. Elsewhere, 
in those parts of the city which survived the calamity of 1906, row on 
row of Eastlake wooden houses with their bay windows, corner tur- 
rets, and fantastic scrollwork are reminders of a fabulous past. But 
although San Francisco is more profoundly steeped in a tempestuous 
history than any other American city of its age of development, few 
landmarks of that history remain; the city, for the most part, is the 
city that rose from the debris of earthquake and fire. Even the rebuilt 
sections have a look of weathered age. Nor do those sprawling resi- 
dential districts real estate developments of more recent years long 
escape the mellow tarnish of wind and weather. The very streets, 
cutting over hill and down valley with resolute forthrightness, are memo- 
rials to the men of the Gold Rush, whose roughshod surveys determined 
the city's main features, imposing on traffic a series of permanent incon- 
veniences which are nevertheless excused for the dramatic vistas they 
provide. And the old-fashioned cable cars that lurch and sway with 
clanging bell up and down their precipitous slopes have long since 
brought to street transportation a spirit of. almost festive novelty which 
it enjoys probably nowhere else. 

A tradition which has behind it the most hectic and glamorous 
epoch of American pioneering is still the factor which determines much 
of the city's enigmatic charm and governs many of those political, eco- 
nomic, and cultural phenomena by which San Franciscans continue to 
astonish the world. Every principle of American democracy has been 
tested here, and what has emerged is a kind of collective wisdom by 



which public affairs may be administered with a minimum of inter- 
ference with personal liberty. The average San Franciscan still adheres 
to the pioneer concept of government: the less of it the better. His 
Argonaut forbears tried to do without it altogether, but found them- 
selves at the mercy of social evils which nothing short of a harsh popular 
tribunal could eradicate. Their subsequent experience with municipal 
administrations, reformist and otherwise, led them finally to devise a 
city charter of such elaborate checks and balances that corruption on 
a grand scale was forestalled. By resounding majorities bond issues of 
a dubious nature are voted down, but not appropriations for education, 
for parks and playgrounds or for expositions and bridges. 

What is supremely important to San Franciscans is that they be let 
alone to think and act as they please. Here the accent has always been 
on living, and however much the city has changed in other ways, 1940 
sees no let-up in that vigorous search for experience by which San 
Franciscans have been enriching their lives since 1850. The difference 
nowadays lies in a certain refinement of critical faculties which is hav- 
ing its effect on all phases of the city's social life. The crowds who 
attend concerts and art exhibits, movies and cabarets, theatrical per- 
formances and the opera constitute audiences whose verdict is some- 
thing to be respected. What San Franciscans like they applaud with 
a sensitive and overwhelming enthusiasm; what they believe will not 
please them they simply avoid. Rather than have a mediocre theater 
of their own, they still attend dramatic performances imported from 
New York. The cuisine of their hotels and restaurants is still re- 
nowned the world over; and every San Franciscan is something of art 
epicure. The thousand-and-one treasures of the city's shops find a 
sophisticated response among San Franciscans to whom luxuries are, 
and always have been, aids to graceful living rather than the accoutre- 
ments of fashion. All sorts of exotic importations, brought in by the 
city's various ethnic groups, contribute to the fun of being a San Fran- 
ciscan. This universal delight in just being alive here, which has 
amazed so many outsiders, has its source very largely in a certain play- 
fulness of spirit a natural gusto by which rich and poor alike are 
able to draw from some simple experience (a ride on a cable car or a 
dinner at Solari's) a sense of joie de vivre. 

The Genteel Tradition was never able to take root here. The 
virile ethics of the Argonauts forbade it. San Franciscans have always 
shown an almost universal disregard for the haughtier privileges of great 
wealth. Nob Hill was not a social success: the city's sense of humor, 
its love of gaiety, its unfailing urbanity have excluded aristocratic exclu- 
siveness. Its absentee aristocracy (descendants of the bonanza mil- 
lionaires who have retired to estates down the Peninsula or in the 
Marin hills) continue to make "The City" the hub of their social 


whirl; but San Francisco itself has no recognizable "four hundred." 
The city has not a single public place where formal attire is obligatory ; 
almost the only social requirements are that one hold one's liquor well 
and behave like a gentleman or a lady. The predominance of highly 
skilled workers, professional people, and technicians in its population 
inevitable in a city which is much more a commercial than an industrial 
center determines the social standard, outweighing even the labor 
movement's more highly publicized influence. But the middle-class 
influence is modified, not only by labor's strength, but also by the effects 
of the city's polyglot mixture of nationalities its vast number of people 
who have come from every country under the sun, and while becoming 
citizens in all respects, have retained nonetheless the customs of their 

The best way to insult a San Franciscan is to slap him on the back. 
Whatever violates his natural urbanity receives a chilly response. Like 
his Argonaut predecessors he continues to form friendships and choose 
business associates in the "partner" tradition of the Gold Rush. This 
delicate social process, which has repelled countless newcomers, has 
resulted in a population for whom individuality is the keynote; and 
those of a more gregarious nature quickly retire to places where their 
back-slapping propensities will be appreciated. Despite this unkind form 
of social selectivity, San Francisco is constantly acquiring new citizens 
from every state of the Union and from abroad. Those who remain 
partake inevitably of the city's social tradition; and so profoundly will 
it affect them that, though they may journey to the ends of the earth, 
this place will always be home to them. The citizen of San Francisco 
is a citizen of the world. 

The City* s Growth 

"The Yankees are a wonderful people, wonderful. Wherever 
they go they make improvements. If they were to emigrate in 
larffe numbers to. hell itself, they would somehow manage to 
change the climate." 

GENERAL MARIANO G. VALLEJO (to President Lincoln). 

A' THE crossroads of the great migrations of antiquity arose such 
cities as that magical pandemonium the Argonauts inhabited: 
Nineveh, Babylon, and Jericho. Although the sin and splendor 
of the bonanza epoch have long since given way to the iron age of 
corporate industrialism, the successors of the Argonauts have striven 
mightily to retain their heritage of hilarious action. Somehow it is all 
here, chastened and dispersed, but no less explosive than in the era 
before "The Fire": the vigorous delight in living, the susceptibility to 
tremendous projects, the vengeful spirit of the Vigilantes, the profound 
sophistication and the capacity for Homeric laughter. 


Dusty, fleabitten little Yerba Buena was in 1835 an insignificant 
outpost long frequented by roving seafarers, Russians, and a few non- 
descript traders who smelled of hides and tallow. But for four redwood 
posts covered with a ship's foresail which De Haro's harbormaster, 
William Antonio Richardson, erected on "La Calle" in 1835, San Fran- 
cisco's original site was little more than a waste of sand and chaparral 
sloping down to a beach and a small lagoon. El Parage de Yerba 
Buena (The Little Valley of the Good Herb) it had been named long 
before, because of the aromatic vine (Micromeria Chamissonis) found 
in the underbrush there. 

Richardson, young master mariner who had deserted the British 
whaler Orion in 1822, was appointed Captain of the Port of San Fran- 
cisco by Governor Pablo Vicente de Sola in 1835 when the Bay was 
declared a port of entry. Stocking his huge tent with wheat, hides, 
and vegetables, trader Richardson soon supplemented his official duties 
by raising two sunken schooners which he put into service transporting 
rancho products from one end of the Bay to the other at somewhat 
exorbitant rates. 

Democratic self-government, of the bureaucratic sort decreed by the 
Mexican Republic, came to Yerba Buena before the town itself arrived. 
Citizens of the partido (civil district) of San Francisco, on Governor 



Jose Figueroa's orders, assembled in the Presidio on December 7, 1834 
to choose electors for the ayuntamiento (district council). On the fol- 
lowing Sunday Don Francisco de Haro was elected to the ayuntamiento 
as alcalde for the projected pueblo of Yerba Buena. As a gesture, 
toward establishing the town, Don Francisco marked out on the ground, 
from the site of Yerba Buena to the Presidio, La Calle de la Fundacion 
(Foundation Street) and retired thereafter to Mission Dolores to look 
after private matters. 

Richardson, on July I, 1836, suddenly acquired a neighbor as re- 
sourceful as himself one equipped to do business in really sumptuous 
style. Jacob Primer Leese, Ohio-born partner in a Monterey mercan- 
tile firm, sailed into the cove aboard the barque Don Quixote with a 
$12,000 cargo of merchandise, a six-piece orchestra, and enough lumber 
to erect a mansion. By July 4, on a lot adjoining Richardson's prop- 
erty, the amazing Mr. Leese had thrown up a frame house 60 feet 
long, and 25 feet wide. Borrowing two six-pounders from the Presidio 
and decking his domestic barn with bunting from ships in the cove, 
Leese summoned all leading Mexican families north of the Bay to an 
Independence Day celebration which lasted two days and a night. 

Among the guests at Leese's patriotic housewarming had been Cap- 
tain Jean Jacques Vioget, of the Peruvian brig Delmira, who was also 
a surveyor and a lively man with a fiddle. In the autumn of 1839 this 
versatile Swiss was commissioned by Alcalde de Haro to make the first 
survey of Yerba Buena. By 1840 on the west side of Montgomery 
Street, between Clay and Sacramento Streets, next door to the new 
Hudson's Bay Company's post and saloon he was serving ship's captains, 
supercargoes, merchants, and clerks in a tavern. 

Thirty families, in 1841, comprised the village population. The 
most impressive house was that of Nathan Spear, who was running the 
Bay area's only flour mill. Jacob Leese had now transferred his busi- 
ness to Sonoma. Richardson was living across the Bay on his huge 
Rancho Saucelito, where he continued to collect customs and pocket the 
funds, claiming that his salary as harbor master was not paid and that 
he had no other source of income. 

Governor Juan B. Alvarado's decrees, restricting trade with for- 
eigners after 1841, drove the American whalers from San Francisco Bay 
to a new headquarters in the Sandwich Islands; and by 1844, outrivaled 
by the port of Honolulu, Yerba Buena had fallen back into obscurity. 
Though that same year saw the election of its first American-born 
alcalde, William Sturges Hinckley, the village continued to languish. 

The mock-heroics of "Pathfinder" John Charles Fremont's raid on 
the Castillo de San Joaquin were Yerba Buena's first warning of im- 
pending change. Slipping over from Sausalito on July I, 1846, the 
Yankee adventurer spiked the dismantled guns of the old fort. ("So far 


as can be known," says Hubert Howe Bancroft, "not one of the ten 
cannons offered the slightest resistance.") Thereafter, for a week, the 
habitues of Vioget's hangout gave themselves up to warlike gossip, for- 
getting to play billiards. 

Suddenly, on July 9, the U.S.S. Portsmouth quietly dropped anchor 
in Yerba Buena's cove. The villagers unaware of Commodore Sloat's 
flotilla off Monterey were disturbed at breakfast by a roll of drums 
and a flurry of fifes. When they rushed to the Plaza, Captain John B. 
Montgomery's 70 sailors and marines were running up the Stars and 
Stripes on Mexico's flagpole atop the adobe Custom House. Down in 
the cove the Portsmouth's 21 -gun salute rumbled into history across San 
Francisco Bay. 

Captain Montgomery on August 26 appointed Lieutenant Washing- 
ton Allen Bartlett first alcalde of Yerba Buena under the American 
flag. On September 15 Bartlett was confirmed in office by popular vote, 
with the same powers enjoyed by his Mexican predecessors. His first 
important decree ordered revision of Vioget's survey, which had served 
to locate building lots since 1839. Jasper O'Farrell, civil engineer em- 
ployed for the job, discovered in 1847 tna t the Swiss tavern-keeper's 
streets intersected at two and a half degrees from a right angle. His 
prompt correction of this error, known as "O'Farrell's Swing," left 
building frontage and vacant lots projecting somewhat beyond the 
theoretically proper lines of nonexistent curbstones. 

On the last day of July 1846, Samuel Brannan, the bombastic Mor- 
mon Elder, sailed in through the Golden Gate aboard the Brooklyn 
with his well-armed flock of Latter-day Saints, a hold crammed with 
farmer's tools, two flour mills, and a printing press. The Mormons 
provided all that was necessary to pull Yerba Buena out of its rut once 
more. Within a year that place which had baffled the urbane and 
mystical Spaniards for three-quarters of a century would appear on the 
map of Alta California. Two years later the name of San Francisco 
would be blazoned in gold on the map of the world. 


"To this Gate I gave the name of 'Chrysopylae' or Golden Gate for 
the same reason that the harbor of Byzantium was called 'Chrysoceras,' 
or Golden Horn." Thus Fremont, after gazing at the Bay's entrance 
from a Contra Costa peak, adorned his report to the United States 
Congress with an erudite flourish. Little did he suspect how literal 
was to be the name he had given to that famous strait. 

When Brannan's Mormon battalion landed at Yerba Buena in the 
summer of 1846, the village had 50 or 60 inhabitants. Sam's passengers 
and crew swelled its population by nearly six-fold. The Plaza, newly 


named Portsmouth Square, already had its fringe of gambling houses, a 
hotel and a saloon, and its nucleus of rough characters. 

Brannan's bull-throated oratory and domineering personality enabled 
him to assume leadership of the town's affairs. Within a year he had 
performed the first marriage and preached the first sermon under Amer- 
ican rule, seen to the holding of the first jury trial, established the first 
newspaper, and sunk all his money in Yerba Buena real estate. In his 
California Star, on January 30, 1847, appeared Alcalde Bartlett's ordi- 
nance which cut the ground from under the scheme of Thomas Larkia 
and General Vallejo to adopt the name "San Francisco" for a rival 
townsite on Carquinez Strait. "It is Hereby Ordained," said the 
ordinance's clinching paragraph, "that the name of San Francisco shall 
hereafter be used in all official communications and public documents,, 
or records appertaining to the town [of Yerba Buena]." 

Whatever Sam Brannan's original intentions ostensibly he had 
brought his cargo of Saints around Cape Horn to establish for Brigham. 
Young a Mormon commonwealth in California he soon fell somewhat 
from grace with his followers and with Alcalde Bartlett. The fiery 
Elder was too deeply involved financially, however, to move on to- 
greener pastures; and though his paper's editor had been rolled down 
Portsmouth Square in a barrel for lukewarm local patriotism, Sam 
supported a campaign for public education which resulted in establish- 
ment of San Francisco's first school a frame house on Portsmouth 
Square which also served successively as town-hall, church, and jail. 
His own contribution to the spirit of progress was a special edition of 
the Star of which 2,000 copies, carried by horse-borne courier, boosted 
California all the way to the Mississippi Valley. 

The arrival, in the spring of 1847, of Colonel J. D. Stevenson's- 
disbanded regiment of New York volunteers in the Mexican War 
"Bowery Boys" schooled in the spread-eagle Americanism of New 
York's Tammany Hall so inspired Sam Brannan with faith in Cali- 
fornia's future that he decided to strike out eastward, meet Brigham 
Young's stranded pilgrims, and lead them into the Promised Land. 
This the patriarchal Brigham had already found in Salt Lake Valley, 
however, and Sam had to retrace his steps to California. Angry and 
disgusted, he forgot about San Francisco and decided, in the autumn of 
1847, to set up a store at Sutter's Fort and help the lord of New 
Helvetia build a sawmill on the south fork of the American River near 
the present site of Coloma. When gold was discovered in Sutter's- 
millrace on January 24, 1848, Elder Sam Brannan re-assumed his 
authority over Mormon miners in the vicinity and began collecting "the 
Lord's tithes" from them. To the apostle sent to him to claim this illicit 
revenue Sam retorted: "You go back and tell Brigham that I'll give up- 


the Lord's money when he gives me |\FC V* s * gne< OR^Mf Lord, and 
no sooner!" 

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Brannan's own newspaper was ridicul- 
ing persistent rumors of rich gold strikes in the Sierra foothills. Sud- 
denly the Stars owner himself rushed into town with a whisky flask full 
of the yellow flakes and confounded loiterers in Portsmouth Square with 
yells of. "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!" Of the 
town's 900 inhabitants, only seven were left behind when the renegade 
Mormon with the bland face and side-whiskers led the first rush to the 

Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in gold dust came down 
the Sacramento during June and July of 1848. When news of this 
reached Mexican and South American ports via vessels from Honolulu, 
fortune-hunters in thousands swarmed aboard ships bound up the Coast. 
By New Year's Day, 1849, 6,000 miners were at the diggings. San 
Francisco was a cantonment of tents with a population of 2,000 excited 

On February 28, 1849, the California, first steamship to sail through 
the Golden Gate, arrived with her hold packed with gold-seekers from 
New Orleans taken on at Panama and her hurricane deck swarming 
with Peruvians, Chilenos and Mexicans. Greeted by San Franciscans 
with wild cheering and by five American warships in the Bay with 
broadside salutes, the Pacific Mail steamer was promptly deserted both 
by passengers and crew in their headlong flight to the mines. 

Already embroiled in the slavery issue, the Federal government 
virtually left California to its own devices for the next four years. The 
ambiguous powers of San Francisco's ayuntamiento were openly flouted 
by the inrush of fortune-hunters. Many of the town's merchants, who 
had been quietly getting rich, soon found themselves at the mercy of a 
lawless mob. Sam Brannan took the chaotic situation in his stride: he 
returned promptly and did a thriving business selling tacks, canvas, and 
redwood scantlings to the tent-dwellers who spread out over the sand- 
hills "like the camp of an army." 

The remnants of Colonel Stevenson's regiment soon abandoned the 
hard toil of the placers and returned to the city, there to style themselves 
Regulators and enter the employ of shipowners as a police force to track 
down runaway sailors. In outlandish uniforms, with fiddle, fife, and 
drum, they soon earned the name "Hounds" for their penchant for 
"hounding" Mexicans, Peruvians, and others of darker skin to whom 
they denied all rights in this land "preserved by nature for Americans 
only, who possess noble hearts." On the night of July 15, 1849, these 
hoodlums raided the Chilean quarter; in that scene of pillage and gen- 
eral mayhem, one woman was murdered and a Hound stabbed with a 
bowie knife. -. 


Alcalde T. M. Leavenworth, having neither the legal power nor 
the courage to make an arrest, let the incident pass; but the town's 
leading merchants had had enough of lawlessness. Led by Sam Bran- 
nan, who stood hurling invective at the Hounds from the rooftop of the 
alcalde s office in Portsmouth Square, San Francisco's first forces of law 
and order were mobilized. Leavenworth himself was compelled to 
give them some kind of legal sanction. By sunset 19 of the Hounds had 
been run down. Next day a grand jury indicted all 19 for conspiracy 
"to commit riot, rape, and murder." None of these proceedings, of 
course, had any legal status in California. The verdict was banishment 
from the territory, but although the Hounds disbanded and the law- 
and-order men also the convicted men could not be deported ; and San 
Francisco's underworld continued to wage a stealthy warfare against 
the whole community. 

W. T. "War-Is-Hell" Sherman presents in his Memoirs a graphic 
picture of the riotous Gold Rush metropolis during the wet winter of 
1849 and the spring of 1850: "Montgomery Street had been filled up 
with brush and clay and I always dreaded to ride on horseback along 
it. ... The rider was likely to be thrown and drowned in the mud." 
Kearny Street was impassable, "not even jackassable," except where it 
was paved for 25 yards with sacks of flour and bran, tobacco, stoves, 
and a piano. Drunks, known to stumble into the mire, would suffocate 
before rescue could arrive. 

Portsmouth Square, ringed round on three sides by saloons and gam- 
bling dens, was a bedlam that roared night and day. Except for the 
city's merchants and a few other stationary inhabitants, the population 
was forever shuttling back and forth between the city and the gold 
camps. In the period from Christmas Eve, 1849, to June 22, 1851, San 
Francisco's ramshackle architecture was leveled by six successive fires. 
Not until after the fifth of these conflagrations did responsible citizens 
manage to lay charges of incendiarism against the Hounds' successors, 
the Sydney Ducks. 

On June 9, 1851, the first Vigilance Committee was organized in 
the office of Sam Brannan, who became its president. Two days later, 
for the theft of a small safe, John Jenkins swung in the moonlight from 
a gable of the old Customhouse on Porthmouth Square. By July i the 
Vigilantes were so well organized that the city's homicide rate which 
nevertheless was to include 1,000 murders between 1849 and 1856 
declined temporarily. Among the reputable element, however, duels 
were common occurrences. Streets and gambling resorts were almost 
daily the scenes of casual gunfire. 

On assuming office in 1850 Mayor John W. Geary had warned the 
City Council that ". . . we are without a dollar in the public treasury, 
and it is to be feared the city is greatly in debt. ... In short, you are 


without a single requisite ... for the protection of property, or for 
the maintenance of order." The warning had little effect. When the 
public debt had risen to $840,000, it was repudiated. Municipal offi- 
cials, honest and otherwise, continued to be at the mercy of the Barbary 
Coast machine which put them in office. Sam Brannan could drum up 
a lynching as well as any rabble-rouser, but he was no match for those 
Tammany politicians whose wardheelers stuffed ballot boxes, paid out 
patronage and bribes, and terrorized voters at the polls. The influx of 
ticket-of-leave men ex-convicts from Australia locally known as Sydney 
Ducks had brought on a crime wave of- alarming violence. 

The rich yield of the placers began to run out in 1854. San Fran- 
cisco went as wild in financial panic as it had been amid the inflation 
after 1849. One of the victims of the depression, James King of 
William, vented his chagrin over bad luck on the city's corrupt politi- 
cians through editorials in a newspaper he established for the purpose. 
For his scalping pen, the editor of the Evening Bulletin was shot down 
one day on Montgomery Street by city supervisor James P. Casey. 

Already incensed by the failure of a jury to convict the slayer of 
U. S. Marshal William H. Richardson one Charles Cora, a gambler, 
who had resented Richardson's public snubbing of his bagnio-keeping 
mistress those San Franciscans grown weary of lawless ways quietly 
formed the second Vigilance Committee. Under the leadership of mer- 
chant William T. Coleman it went about its business with less fanfare, 
but more efficiency, than the Committee of 1851. Upon the day of 
James King of William's funeral, the bodies of Cora and Casey dangled 
from second-story windows of a building on Sacramento Street, later 
known as Fort Gunnybags. 

Since California's admission to the Union in 1850 the new State had 
made some progress toward stable government. However, the militia 
recruited in San Francisco on orders from the governor to take over the 
extra-legal power of the Vigilance Committee was defied with armed 
resistance. By 1856 the Vigilantes had enrolled most of W. T. Sher- 
man's militiamen within their ranks. At the height of its power the 
Committee numbered 9,000 men : a military body composed of infantry, 
artillery, and cavalry detachments. After an altercation with one of its 
officers a State Supreme Court judge, David S. Terry, was held in Fort 
Gunnybags, pending recovery of the victim of his bowie knife. During 
the life of the committee, there had been four executions, and some 30 
undesirables had been banished from the State. 

On August 1 8, 1856, the Vigilance Committee disbanded volun- 
tarily. Respect for law and order, which a corrupt government had 
failed to inspire, was thus established by a popular instrument without 
legal authority. From the work of this "lawless" body sprang the 
People's Party which swept the municipal election of 1857 mt <> tne 


hands of men for whom honesty, aside from being the best policy, was a 
proviso of health and longevity. 

BONANZA (1856-1875) 

San Francisco's population of 50,000 at no time during the i85o's 
did it exceed this figure had been perched on the bandwagon of the 
Gold Rush for five miraculous years. The roulette wheel was the 
symbol of its whole economy. When the stream of yellow metal ceased 
to pour down upon the town, however, the stakes of gamblers and 
speculators alike vanished into thin air. The crash dealt the relatively 
small, highly organized community a stunning blow. Inbound shipping 
decreased by half from 1853 to 1857; liabilities of bankrupt firms 
totaled more than $8,000,000. Nearly half the city's population was 

In February and March of 1855 Stockton and Los Angeles papers 
printed a number of sensational letters giving details of a purported rich 
strike on the Kern River. Thousands of people abandoned rich claims 
and steady employment in the rush to the new El Dorado. Additional 
thousands were preparing to follow when letters from the area brought 
the discouraging news that there was not work for more than 100 men. 
The unemployment burden was considerably lightened in 1858, how- 
ever, when towards the end of summer, 18,000 men joined in a wild 
exodus to British Columbia's newly discovered Frazier River mines. 
With recovery came increased commercial activity; and demands from 
growing agricultural districts for articles of domestic and foreign manu- 
facture laid the foundation of San Francisco's industrial prosperity. 
More than $4,000,000 a month in gold, besides, was being shipped out 
through the Golden Gate before the beginning of 1859. 

The national controversy over slavery was rapidly dividing Cali- 
fornians into Secessionists and patriots loyal to the Union. As the 
"irreconcilable conflict" approached a crisis, it became apparent that the 
State might join the Southern cause. Among San Franciscans this 
political cleavage was the occasion for personal feuds in which damaging 
accusations and unprintable remarks led logically to "shooting it out." 
Consequently when California's champion against slavery in the United 
States Senate, David C. Broderick, cast aspersions upon Secessionist 
Judge David S. Terry, chief justice of the State Supreme Court, the 
latter promptly challenged the somber-faced Senator to a duel. Brod- 
erick was killed; 30,000 San Franciscans attended his funeral; Terry 
was ostracized, and the Senator's martyrdom crystallized Union senti- 
ment among the city's predominantly Yankee population. 

Abraham Lincoln's election to the Presidency was acclaimed by San 
Francisco's Union sympathizers with wild demonstrations in the streets. 


Huge mass meetings were addressed by Senator Edward Baker and 
Unitarian minister Thomas Starr King, both of whom toured the State 
for the Union cause. Brigadier-General Albert Sidney Johnston, in 
command of the Presidio and the Department of the Pacific, was dis- 
placed by General E. V. Sumner following charges that Johnston was 
in league with Senator William M. Gwin to turn over California's 
armed forces to the Confederacy. Sumner's arrest of Gwin left the 
State's Secessionists without leadership, and their conspiracy collapsed. 

With California won for the North, San Francisco proceeded to 
develop its commerce and industry, in virtual isolation from the War 
between the States. Its most substantial contribution to the Union cause 
was the $566,790.66 in gold sent to the United States Sanitary Com- 
mission for aid to the sick and wounded among the Northern troops. 

The slump in gold production after 1860 found compensation in the 
growth of new industries and increasing trade. The Nation's treaty 
with the Hawaiian Islands, permitting free entry of raw sugar, resulted 
in the establishment of San Francisco's first refinery. The development 
of transportation brought increasing prosperity to sawmills, foundries, 
and other enterprises spreading rapidly over the Bay area. On October 
24, 1 86 1, San Francisco and New York were connected by telegraph. 
That same year a young engineer, Theodore Dehone Judah, finally 
convinced a small group of businessmen that a railroad could be built 
across the Sierra Nevada. 

The possibility of transporting the fabulous silver deposits of 
Nevada's Comstock Lode to San Francisco by rail inspired even the 
least imaginative of the city's entrepreneurs. Charles Crocker, Mark 
Hopkins, Leland Stanford, and Collis P. Huntington Sacramento 
merchants with a bare $50,000 among them saw in Judah's plan their 
chance to corner for themselves the wealth of California's growing 
commerce. Prototypes of San Francisco's later financial giants, the 
predestined "Big Four" organized the Central Pacific Company of Cali- 
fornia on June 28, 1861. President Lincoln's signing of the Pacific 
Railroad Bill a year later was the signal for the eight-year race between 
the Central and the Union Pacific to join the rails of the Nation's first 
transcontinental railroad. 

The completion of this epical undertaking in 1869, though it meant 
the end of San Francisco's splendid isolation from the national economy, 
was no occasion for jubilance. The "terrible seventies" were imme- 
diately ahead. A goodly portion of the 65,ooo-odd Chinese coolies 
whom Crocker and his associates had imported to build the Central 
Pacific's roadbed came drifting back into the city to compete with job- 
less whites. Gold production in the State's placer mines, over $44,000,- 
ooo annually until 1860, had shrunk by 1870 to $15,000,000; and 
unemployment once more became a source of unrest that flared up with 


increasing violence. The titanic struggle between the Bank of Cali- 
fornia and its rivals in Virginia City was a speculator's nightmare in 
which the brokerage firms of Leidesdorff Street were mobbed by suckers 
rich and poor who sank savings and borrowed funds in "California" 
and "Consolidated Virginia." Not until the crash of the Bank of 
California in August, 1875, did the gambling frenzy reminiscent of the 
Gold Rush fitfully subside. When by 1877 the nightmare was over at 
last, carefree San Francisco's "Golden Age" was irretrievably gone. 

With the advent of hard times the labor unions, into which practi- 
cally every trade in the city had been organized during the decade after 
1865, carried their powerful economic struggles into the political field. 
The rising Workingmen's Party began holding great mass meetings 
where an Irish drayman, Dennis Kearney, delivered inflammatory 
harangues which soon made Elm the leader of a widespread movement 
to exclude the Chinese from industries employing white labor. By 
1879, however, the Workingmen's Party was coming under the control 
of cooler heads; and its delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 
that year brought to Sacramento a program of constructive proposals, 
several of which were adopted. 

For his outspoken charges against local political conditions and for 
his advocacy of the workingmen's cause, Isaac S. Kalloch, a Baptist 
minister of considerable oratorical ability, became a candidate for mayor 
of San Francisco that same year. His bitterest opponents were the De 
Young brothers, owners and editors of the San Francisco Chronicle, 
who waged a highly personal war of words with Kalloch until the 
latter's blistering riposte finale caused Charles de Young to blaze away 
at him with a pistol. Not fatally wounded, Kalloch was enthusiastically 
elected; but the feud went on until, on the evening of April 23, 1880, 
Kalloch's son forestalled further damage to his father's battered reputa- 
tion by fatally shooting De Young. With public sentiment in his favor, 
young Kalloch was acquitted. 

BIG CITY (1875-1906) 

The city's configuration, minus only its outlying residential districts, 
is already apparent in Currier and Ives' The City of San Francisco 
1878 (a bird's-eye view). The gospel of bigness which William C. 
Ralston "the Magnificent" had preached by lavish example had caught 
the city's imagination. An unkempt metropolis whose nocturnal thor- 
oughfares were still murky with gaslight, a patchwork of paved and 
cobbled streets with plank sidewalks, San Francisco, by 1885, had ended 
the first decade of its expansive modern phase. The decade preceding 
the panic of 1893 was one of general prosperity in which "The Rail- 
road" was able to gain control of the city through the machinations of 


Chris Buckley, blind political boss in its pay, while depositors of savings 
banks viewed their accounts with satisfaction. 

San Francisco's population was nearly 300,000 when, in 1893, a 
Nation-wide depression caused the closing of 18 local banks. Hundreds 
of the city's unemployed, forming a local contingent of "Coxey's Army," 
set out for Washington to demand Federal aid. The following year 
the Mid-winter Fair, designed to facilitate business revival, was par- 
tially successful. But the Southern Pacific's monopoly of transportation 
still prevented any substantial recovery. 

When the Bank of California's old enemy, Adolph Sutro, was 
elected mayor of San Francisco in 1894, the long-drawn-out struggle to 
break the power of "The Railroad" began. The public still believed, 
however, that the prosperity of the community depended on the success 
of the "Corporation" and that the Corporation depended for success 
on special privilege and Sutro's battle against the Southern Pacific was 
doomed to be a solitary and thankless feud. His successor in office, 
James D. Phelan, was somewhat more successful. Despite opposition 
from the railroad's political machine, Phelan in May 1898 obtained 
ratification of a new charter which was considered a model for progres- 
sive municipal government. In an attempt to beautify the city, numer- 
ous parks and public playgrounds were established, and so popular had 
the "city beautiful" movement become by 1899 that $18,000,000 had 
been voted for public improvements. In his third and last term as 
mayor, however, Phelan lost his popularity by attempting to break a 
city-wide strike of teamsters. 

Out of this prolonged and violent teamsters' strike of 1901 arose 
the Union Labor Party. In the election of 1902 its candidate for 
mayor, Eugene E. Schmitz of the Musicians' Union, was elected by a 
sizeable majority. Though Schmitz himself seems to have had honor- 
able intentions, he soon came under the dominance of Abraham Ruef, 
shrewdest of the city's long succession of political bosses. It became 
common knowledge within the next four years that the entire structure 
of municipal government was worm-eaten with graft. 

For 50 years San Francisco's tenderloin had been a haven for crim- 
inals and prostitutes of every sort; and it had its own crude laws, its 
definite social gradations. Here, in an area roughly bounded by Clay 
Street, Grant Avenue, Broadway, and the water front, was that 
infamous quarter named by seafarers for those pirate-infested shores of 
North Africa: the Barbary Coast. On November 28, 1869, the San 
Francisco Call had deplored the fact that the region abounded in 
"scenes of wretchedness and pollution unparallelled on this side of the 
great mountains" ; but since its denizens preyed chiefly upon each other 
and on such victims as were foolish enough to venture among them, the 
municipal authorities let them go to the devil in their own way. Leaders 


Industry: Arts: Learning 







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of the Barbary Coast's gang of hoodlums criminal descendants of the 
Hounds and the Sydney Ducks of Gold Rush times forced profits from 
the myriad resorts of vice, and in their turn paid protection money to 
the political machine which was exacting tribute from respectable San 
Franciscans in other ways. 

"The Wickedest City in the World" it might be; but its flourishing 
vice traffic and its scandalous misgovernment notwithstanding, San 
Francisco in 1906 had attained the stature of undisputed metropolis of 
the Pacific Coast. With a population of nearly 400,000, with its great 
hotels and churches and commercial establishments its numerous fine 
schools, libraries, and hospitals the city by the Golden Gate was a 
recognized world center of trade and finance and a gay capital of inter- 
national society on a par with London, New York, and Paris. 

Five o'clock on the morning of April 18, 1906, and all was well. 
The majority of the city's population was peacefully asleep. "Families 
of artisans and mechanics living in homes and lodging houses south of 
Market Street were be-stirring themselves. Oil stoves were lighted and 
smoke was lazily curling out of kitchen chimneys . . . when at thirteen 
minutes past the hour, the deeps of the earth, far down under the 
foundations of the city, began to rumble and vibrate." Instantly the 
whole community was awake, transfixed and speechless with alarm. 
"The earth tremors increased in violence . . . there was a sickening 
sensation as if everything were toppling. Plaster poured from ceilings 
. . . heavy furniture moved about banged upon the floor; and then the 
brick walls gave way . . . Tall structures, ribbed and rocked with 
steel, swayed like trees in a wind-storm, but stood triumphant at the 
end with scarce a brick or stone displaced." 

Such, in Charles Keeler's description, was the first impact of the 
earthquake. It lasted only 48 seconds. Few persons, outside the down- 
town business district, had any idea of the extent of the calamity which 
had befallen the city. Certainly no one dreamed that this was to be but 
the prelude to its destruction. The crowds of bewildered citizens who 
rushed out into the streets in their night-clothing, seeing no more than 
some fallen masonry and sniffing the pall of dust, straggled back to their 
rooms to wash their faces and get decently dressed. 

Well-constructed buildings were hardly damaged at all. The most 
appalling ruin was that of the great City Hall, on which $7,000,000 of 
public funds had been squandered. But San Francisco was 90 per cent 
frame, a larger portion of wooden buildings than any city in the United 
States. Old lodging houses of the laboring poor, in the congested area 
south of Market Street, bore the full brunt of the shock; and as these 
toppled over upon countless screaming victims, fires from overturned 
stoves within the wreckage blazed up in a score of widely separated 
places. A terrific explosion shook the area: the city's gas works had 


blown up. No alarms were struck owing to complete breakdown of the 
fire alarm system, and as fire engines went clanging through the streets, 
a huge cloud of smoke rose over all the southern section of the city. 

Crowds of anxious spectators and the horde of refugees from the 
burning district were amazed at the sight of artillery troops and caissons 
from the Presidio rumbling down Montgomery Street. The sound of 
muffled explosions, coming from the edge of the approaching wall of 
flame, confirmed the rumor that water mains had been disrupted by the 
earthquake, and that dynamite was being used in a desperate attempt to 
save the city. As the day advanced the fire swept along the water front, 
leaped across Market Street. By nightfall Chinatown and all the busi- 
ness district was ablaze. The South of Market area was a charred and 
smouldering ruin. Endless streams of refugees fled to the hilltops or 
westward to Golden Gate Park. 

By nightfall of the second day, with the raging inferno moving 
steadily westward as if to engulf the entire city, a last stand was made 
by the army of fire fighters at Van Ness Avenue. With charges of 
dynamite they blasted to heaps of rubbish the long line of mansions 
forming that wide thoroughfare's eastern facade. The heartbreaking 
destruction, at last, turned the tide. Not until Saturday morning, April 
21, however, did the fire finally burn itself out among the scattered 
houses of North Beach. The center of the city an area of 512 blocks 
containing a total of 28,188 buildings great and small had been de- 
molished in 72 hours. Property losses amounted to $500,000,000. 
Three hundred and fifteen bodies were recovered from the debris and 
ashes; 352 persons remained unaccounted for. In the Presidio, in 
Golden Gate Park, and in parks and lots outside the burned area more 
than 250,000 homeless citizens were encamped; and 100,000 more had 
fled to safety across the Bay or down the San Francisco Peninsula. 

RISING PHOENIX (1906-1940) 

To all intents and purposes, though never by actual proclamation 
of the mayor, the city was under martial law from the morning of the 
earthquake until about the middle of May. Besides Federal troops 
and a naval patrol, State militia and the local police force, a citizen's 
committee appointed by Mayor Schmitz patrolled the city; and on his 
authority these various law-enforcing bodies were instructed to "shoot 
to KILL any and all persons found engaged in looting or in the Com- 
mission of Any Other Crime." That remarkable propensity for bring- 
ing order out of the howling chaos or, as Josiah Royce puts it, that 
American genius for self-government was never better demonstrated 
than during the weeks of feverish reconstruction which followed the 
calamity. Despite the enormity of the disaster, it had the salutary effect 


of reducing all classes and condition of men to the common denominator 
of the breadline, wherein the goodnatured camaraderie of the early days 
of '49 was suddenly restored. 

For two months following the earthquake and fire the hitherto 
diverse and antagonistic social elements worked together in jovial ac- 
cord, and San Francisco was the best-behaved city in America. Night 
and day the labor of clearing away the rubbish, of laying new founda- 
tions, went on at a lively pace. With the opening of a thousand 
makeshift saloons, however, the city fell from grace; within three 
months 83 criminal offenses were committed and some 6,000 pistol per- 
mits were issued for defense of persons and property. 

The ashes of San Francisco were hardly cool when the drive to 
"clean up the city" that was interrupted by the disaster was resumed. 
Public-spirited citizens led by ex-Mayor James Phelan and Rudolph 
Spreckels led the attack against "the System" of Abe Ruef, the munici- 
pal government, and the Southern Pacific Company's subsidiary, the 
United Railways. The graft investigation opened with charges that 
city officials had granted the United Railways a monopoly of streetcar 
franchises in exchange for bribes, thus preventing the $11,000,000 
municipal railway organized by Spreckels and Phelan from operating 
traction lines in competition with the private company. 

Assisted by Fremont Older, crusading editor of the Bulletin, and 
attorney Francis J. Heney, prosecutor of Oregon's infamous land 
frauds, the graft investigators established not only the bribe-taking of 
city supervisors in the matter of railway franchises but also brought to 
light the complicity of these officials in aiding private corporations to 
gain control of municipal public utilities. Testimony of the 18 super- 
visors, who were promised immunity for confessions when faced with 
proof of their guilt, convicted Abe Ruef and put Mayor Schmitz 
behind bars. 

Despite all this name-calling and legal violence the work of rebuild- 
ing the city went steadily on. The $175,000,000 paid to holders of 
insurance policies furnished a substantial impetus to rehabilitation. 
Within the year following the disaster construction amounting to more 
than $80,000,000 was undertaken. By 1909 construction figures had 
reached $150,000,000; and the devastated area was almost completely 
rebuilt by the end of the year. 

Reformist Mayor Edward Robeson Taylor, who had succeeded the 
unlucky Schmitz, was displaced in the election of 1909 by the Union 
Labor Party's candidate, P. H. McCarthy. Despite apparent collapse 
of the campaign against the "Interests," the sentiment for reform had 
permeated the whole State; and the election of Hiram Johnson to the 
governorship saw the appointment of a Railroad Commission that 
smashed the power of the Southern Pacific's machine which had domi- 


nated California for almost half a century. Following the election of 
James Rolph, Jr., in 1911, the Union Labor Party went into a decline. 
It is, however, still the political arm of the American Federation of 
Labor and endorses candidates but does not run its own slate. 

Consistently returned to office for the next 2O years, "Sunny Jim" 
Rolph was a prince of glad-handers in high-heeled polished boots, ten- 
gallon hats, and Palm Beach suits who brought to San Francisco a 
bizarre policy of goodwill that was the outward symbol of confidence 
and prosperity. His prolonged administration saw the extension of 
streets into residential districts beyond the hills, electrification of street 
railways and extended municipal ownership of public utilities; the 
successful Panama-Pacific International Exposition; the hysteria pre- 
ceding American entrance into the World War and the speculative 
boom of the early J 2o's; the eclipse of social conviviality in the morbid 
Prohibition days of bad gin, sex, and jazz. 

When the State's Red Light Abatement Act and the revoking of 
dance-hall licenses finally brought to an end in 1917 the long career of 
the Barbary Coast, old-timers watched its passing with aching hearts. 
Pride in the splendor of the rising city, however, turned the eyes of San 
Franciscans to the future as great hotels, lofty apartment houses, and 
skyscrapers brought to the truncated skyline the aspect of a massive 
American metropolis. Thrilling tribute to a three-quarter century of 
progress was the city's Diamond Jubilee of 1925, when the Nation's 
naval forces forming a procession 25 miles in length steamed in 
through the Golden Gate. 

The Nation-wide financial crisis of 1929 did not immediately check 
San Francisco's business boom, and public improvements continued. In 
1930 its population passed the 634,000 mark. The great Hetch-Hetchy 
dam in the high Sierras was nearing completion, and pending availability 
of its resources of light and power the city augmented its public utilities 
by purchasing the Spring Valley Water Company. Municipal govern- 
ment cast off its outmoded legal garment and clothed itself in the shining 
armor of a new charter. Even the onslaught of the depression which 
struck the city in 1932, while it brought on a decline in shipping and 
industry and threw some 70,000 workers out of employment, delayed 
only for another year the initial construction of the San Francisco-Oak- 
land Bay Bridge. The city's sound financial and business structure 
enabled it to emerge with losses less serious than those of any other 
major American city. 

The Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-40, planned as 
a "Pageant of the Pacific" to celebrate the completion of the two great 
bridges across the Bay and the Golden Gate, was attended in 1939 by 
10,496,203 visiters; it gave to the Bay area the impetus needed to raise 


San Francisco business indices to pre-depression levels. Even more vast 
and incalculable appear the cultural influences which may be derived 
from this ''World's Fair of the West" in the new era of increasing 
relations with the nations of the Pacific and the western hemisphere. 

San Franciscans at Work 

"No occupation was considered at all derogatory . . . Every 
kind of business, custom, and employment, was solicited . . . the 
field was open, and every one was striving for what seemed to be 
within the reach of all a foremost rank in his own sphere," 

J. D. BORTHWICK (1857) 

WJ3EN the first streaks of dawn scatter the night, San Francisco 
awakes, not to the march of early morning factory workers, 
but to the whir of limousines speeding brokers to the Stock 
Exchange. For in San Francisco, because of the difference between 
Pacific and Atlantic time, they must be at work by six of a summer 
morning to be on the floor of the Exchange when Wall Street begins 
trading. In winter, when daylight saving has been discontinued in the 
East, the San Francisco broker may sleep on hour later. 

But the stock brokers are not the earliest risers. At two in the 
morning the area east of Montgomery Street and the financial district 
already has begun filling, the narrow streets rumbling to the heavy 
wheels of trucks bringing fresh fruits and vegetables from Peninsula 
truck farms and valley ranches to the wholesale produce markets. And 
in North Beach the crab fishermen are hurrying to the wharf, anxious 
to push their small boats through the Gate on an acquiescent tide. 

When the siren at the Ferry Building sounds eight o'clock the water 
front comes suddenly to life. Longshoremen surge through steel-jawed 
pier doors, teamsters and trucks at their heels. As loading and discharg- 
ing of cargo proceeds in the nearby warehouses some eight to ten thou- 
sand warehousemen sort, check, and pile the thousands of tons of 
merchandise for storage, transshipment, or distribution. Here, on or 
near the water front, congregate the crews of the many vessels from 
tugboats to passenger liners sailors and marine engineers, radio 
telegraphers and bargemen, firemen, oilers, and watertenders. Masters, 
mates and pilots, cooks and stewards join the groups clambering aboard 
the ships at dock. 

Here too are the shoreworkers : the maritime jitney drivers hauling 
trucks of cargo from pier to pier, the sealers who scrape and paint the 
hulls and tanks and holds of the ships, the lumber handlers who pile and 
unpile the millions of feet of lumber unloaded by steam schooners. 
Marine machinists and boilermakers, shipbuilders and wharfbuilders, 
watchmen, checkers, and maritime office employees all of these come 
to work in the t city within a city that is San Francisco's Embarcadero. 

As the men and women who haunt the silent office buildings at night 



climb aboard outbound streetcars at dawn and stare sleepily out of 
windows, yawning, anxious only to get home, the trickle of white-collar 
workers which will soon become a river of humanity is already flowing 
from the opposite direction. Soon the cars are packed with office work- 
ers, doctors, lawyers, stenographers, and salespeople, who populate the 
downtown area and line lunch counters behind steam-covered windows, 
seeking the morning cup of coffee. Down the California Street hill 
come the bulging cable cars to disgorge their human cargoes into the 
financial district cars locally dubbed " Stenographers' Specials," loaded 
with the female office workers whom eastern columnists have called "the 
most beautiful working-girls in the world." Warehousemen, factory 
workers, printers mingle with the white-collar workers, clutching 
transfers, smoking, hurrying to the job. The stream of humanity mov- 
ing east is joined by another, the commuters coming from the Bay 
Bridge train terminal, overcoated, packing rumpled newspapers, books, 
and purses. From the ferries and bridges from Marin County, Oak- 
land, Berkeley, Alameda, and Peninsula towns they come. As they 
pour into the doorways of department stores, shops, and office buildings, 
there comes to the observer the significance of statistics which say that 
in San Francisco the ratio of white-collar workers to manual workers is 
more than that of any other American city. 

Meanwhile along the southern shore of the city proceeds the in- 
pouring of the stockyard and industrial workers, the men who sweat in 
the freight sheds, the sugar refinery in Butchertown, and the fish reduc- 
tion plant; who toil in the railway repair shops, the shipyards and dry- 
docks, the foundries, the steel and wire and pipe industries, the drab 
cement and gravel plants. Here more than anywhere else in San Fran- 
cisco comes the impression of the trek to work of a grimy march of men 
to the music of necessity men totaling more than 68,000, equaling in 
numbers those employed in wholesale and retail trade. 

Among the city's 250,000 gainfully employed workers, the greatest 
concentration occurs in about equal proportion in the manufacturing 
industries, in the retail and wholesale trades, and in transportation and 
communication. With an estimated 50,000 dependent upon direct mari- 
time activities, the balance are engaged in the innumerable pursuits of a 
commercial, financial, and distributing center. More than 21,441 are 
engaged in real estate, insurance, and finance; 32,565 in service estab- 
lishments; and 24,642 in professional and semi-professional pursuits. 

As the morning wears on, the newsboys shout raucously. The 
owners of flower stands pack bright, dripping carnations and gardenias 
in colorful rows along the sidewalks. Suddenly the newsboys are silent, 
waiting later editions and blacker headlines. The buildings spew forth 
their crowds to seek a quick lunch in drug store, cafeteria, and 


Women shoppers throng Market Street after lunch, peering into 
store windows. Uniformed ushers and doormen stand idly by box offices, 
awaiting matinee crowds. Finally, the sun ducks behind the office build- 
ings, and the homeward rush begins. 

As day merges into night, neon lights flash on. Cocktail lounges 
begin to fill ; darkness brings a dinner rush. Musicians and entertainers, 
waitresses and night cooks scurry through alley entrances to the centers 
of the city's night life. Taxis move from hotel to night club, from 
restaurant to bar. Life becomes a rising tide, hidden behind frosted 
glass, pulsing to the blare of nickel phonographs or the fevered tunes of 
swing bands. 

And then at two a. m. the lights go out; stools and tables are 
stacked; doors are closed. Musicians and dancers, kitchen help and 
customers, going home through dark and empty streets, hear the swish 
of street-cleaning trucks. The flare of an electric welder busy at a 
street intersection flashes through the night. Soon come the white milk 
trucks converging to their distribution points, and the mountainous 
garbage vans clattering from restaurant back doors loaded for suburban 
pig farms. Already stirring are the produce workers and fishermen 
whose work is about to begin. 

So the day ends and begins again, and time has drawn another 24- 
hour circle around the city and its workers. 


San Francisco's Montgomery Street, "Wall Street of the West," 
runs north from Market Street between tall, austere office buildings, a 
canyon of high finance. What men say in offices, staid restaurants, and 
soft-lighted bars along Montgomery Street is passed on by the ticker 
tapes of the Nation, is translated into the languages and dialects of 
Mexico, South America, Australia, the Orient. Great farms, stagger- 
ing lumber resources, Hawaiian sugar and Guatemalan coffee planta- 
tions, broad oil fields with their forests of derricks, Alaskan fish canneries 
and some of the largest fruit canneries in the world, shipping lines that 
encircle the globe, mines and power plants the life blood of all these is 
regulated in Montgomery Street's board rooms and brokerage firms. 

Up the street toward the Plaza in May, 1848, out of breath and 
dusty after his trip from the diggings, hurried Sam Brannan. Within 
five years he would become California's first millionaire and Mont- 
gomery Street would be lined with bankers' offices. As gold dust began 
coming down the Sacramento, some means for handling it had to be 
found. The first requisites were scales and a safe, to weigh and store 
the precious metal; and so storekeepers were the first bankers. Soon 
merchants, assayers, and express companies were buying up gold dust in 


exchange for drafts on Eastern banks. And before the end of the year, 
Stephen A. Wright had opened his Miners' Bank with an advertised 
capital of $200,000 and was collecting interest of from 8 to 15 per cent 
a month on real estate loans. He was soon competing with others: 
Henry M. Naglee; Lucas Turner and Company, represented by Wil- 
liam Tecumseh Sherman and even the Rothschilds. 

Rich in gold, San Francisco nonetheless found itself poor in money. 
A pinch of gold dust substituted for a dollar; a "bit piece" of dollar- 
length gold wire (divided into eight parts), for smaller coins "two 
bits," "four bits," "six bits." The coins of every nation were pressed into 
service, at a rate of exchange based on their size. English shillings, 
French francs, and Mexican double-reals were as acceptable as Amer- 
ican quarters. Peruvian doubloons, Spanish pesetas, Austrian zwanzi- 
gers, Dutch florins, Indian rupees changed hands regularly. Even the 
price of gold fluctuated from $8 to $16 an ounce until 1851, when it 
was stabilized at $16. In the absence of a mint, assay offices began to 
coin 5-, 10-, 2O-, and 25-dollar slugs; at one time 14 such private mints 
were operating. Their coins varied widely in value, ranging from the 
Pacific Company's $10 gold pieces, worth $7.86, to Kohler and Com- 
pany's, worth $10.10. Not until 1854, when the United States Mint 
was opened, were standards for coinage fixed. 

The methods of Joseph C. Palmer of Palmer, Cook and Company, 
express agents who became bankers in 1851, reflected the spirit of the 
times. It is said a depositor once wanted to withdraw $28,000 from 
his account with the firm. Palmer's consent was necessary. The de- 
positor found him in a lumber yard a mile from the bank. Neither 
pencil nor paper nor pen was available. Palmer picked up a shingle and 
on it, with a piece of red chalk, wrote a check for $28,000 which was 
readily accepted at the bank. 

The express companies did a land-office business shipping gold to 
the east, receiving deposits, selling drafts and making loans. Outstand- 
ing among them was Wells Fargo, a name still familiar throughout the 
West. As early as 1852 this firm was selling exchange on 53 different 
cities in the country. In many California mining or ghost mining towns 
Wells Fargo scales on which millions of dollars in gold dust have been 
weighed are still on exhibit. The company became a bank in 1866, 
operating its banking activities in conjunction with its express business 
until 1878, when the two branches were separated. 

The Gold Rush boom had so far overreached itself by 1854 that a 
crisis in mercantile affairs developed which steadily grew worse until 
the "Black Friday" of February 23, 1855, began a financial panic which 
forced 20 of the 42 banking firms to shut their doors forever. Real 
estate values slumped. Bankruptcies increased from 77 in 1854 to 197 
in 1855. "Honest" Harry Meiggs, city alderman, fled to Chile, leav- 


ing behind $800,000 worth of bad debts, impartially distributed among 
the financial houses of the city, which were secured only by forged city 
warrants. Palmer, Cook and Company failed with a loss of $3,500,000. 

When in 1859 the flow of colossal riches from the silver deposits of 
Nevada mines began, however, a new era commenced which established 
San Francisco finally as financial center of the West. When the Fed- 
eral government and all of the Eastern banks left the gold standard in 
1862, William C. Ralston convinced San Francisco's business men that 
California must stay on gold. He pointed out that the Union would 
need gold, which they could ship to the East and exchange for green- 
backs. As greenback values dropped before the war was ended a gold 
dollar was worth two greenbacks the merchants and investors profited 

As mining activities went on booming, San Francisco became again 
the turbulent city of the Gold Rush, but no longer was it necessary for 
a man to dig in the earth to make his poke. Fortunes were made daily 
and lost as easily in mining stocks. In 1862 forty men united to 
organize the San Francisco Stock and Exchange Board. 

In the second year of the war, when President Lincoln signed the 
Pacific Railroad Bill, the "Big Four" began laying the tracks of the 
Central Pacific eastward. 

The Comstock Lode was pouring wealth into San Francisco, and 
William C. Ralston had a finger in the most important of the mines. 
On July 5, 1864, his Bank of California opened with D. O. Mills as 
president. For more than ten years it was to be the power back of the 
greatest undertakings in the West. Bank money developed the Com- 
stock Lode and the Lode repayed more than abundantly. When the 
"Big Four" were blocked in their efforts to put the railroad through, 
Ralston loaned them bank money on their personal notes, and assumed 
personal responsibility for their debts. 

The collapse of the short boom in real estate prices which followed 
the driving of the last spike in the transcontinental railroad in May, 
1869, left Ralston holding much property in the Montgomery Street 
extension south of Market. When it began to appear that the Com- 
stock Lode, in which millions of the Bank of California's deposits had 
been sunk, was worn out, rumors started that threatened to cause a run 
on the bank. In September, 1869, the night before the run was ex- 
pected, Ralston managed a stunt which has never been duplicated. 
During the night, Ashbury Harpending and a man named Dore, 
exchanged five tons of gold with the United States Sub-Treasury for 
coined money. These men carried this load by hand throughout the 
night. In the morning, when the run began, Ralston was able to put 
on the tables, in sight of the depositors, an inexhaustible supply of coined 
money. The panic stopped almost as soon as it had started. 


During 1865 and 1866, the mines seemed to have played out as one 
by one they reached the end of visible ore. Adolph Sutro, a German- 
Jewish emigrant, conceived the idea of building a tunnel under the 
Comstock Lode to drain flooded shafts and to reach ore that was too 
deep for the mining methods of that time. Ralston at first was im- 
pressed, but the "Ring" was afraid of anyone's else cutting in on the 
rich profits of the mines. Ultimately Sutro had to fight the whole 
Bank of California ring to put the Sutro Tunnel through. His epic 
nine-year struggle against the Bank was the beginning of the fall of 
Ralston's empire. 

By 1870, according to popular opinion, the Comstock had reached 
bottom rock, and there seemed little chance of further veins being dis- 
covered. But several astute miners were quietly buying up the stock 
of several of the mines. John Jones and Alvinza Hayward got the 
Crown Point Mine away from the "Ring." In 1872 two young mining 
men, John W. Mackay and James G. Fair, who had worked in the 
Comstock mines, formed an association with James G. Flood and Wil- 
liam S. O'Brien, San Francisco saloon keepers who for years had dabbled 
in mining stocks. For less than $100,000, the quartet quietly obtained 
control of the California and the Consolidated Virginia, two mines 
which had yet shown little promise. The discovery of a few veins 
started the stock market booming. By 1872, stocks which had been 
listed at $10 a share were bringing hundreds. Consolidated Virginia 
jumped from $160 to $710. San Francisco went stock-gambling mad. 
Nowhere could one hear anything but names of mines and stocks Ken- 
tuck, Yellow Jacket, Crown Point, Consolidated Virginia, Ophir, 
Gould and Curry, Savage. Again the feeling that the riches under the 
Lode were inexhaustible swept San Francisco. 

Then, like a flaming comet over the horizon of Montgomery Street, 
blazed the news that the "Nevada Four's" two mines, known as the 
Big Bonanza, covered the richest vein of ore in the Comstock Lode. 
Mackay, Fair, Flood, and O'Brien had already taken the precaution of 
buying up all available stock before releasing the news. Holding un- 
limited funds, they settled down to relentless warfare with Ralston and 
the Bank of California. The objective was control of the incredibly 
rich Comstock mines. The physical properties lay elsewhere but the 
blows were struck on the exchanges of San Francisco's Wall Street of 
the West. 

As the struggle proceeded, San Francisco was swept by an un- 
precedented frenzy of speculation. Gambling tables in the city were 
practically deserted. On the street curbs in the financial district women 
brokers, dubbed "mudhens," hawked stock of all descriptions. Women 
wearing diamonds and expensive clothes joined the morning crowds 
flocking to the exchanges. 


The downfall of Ralston in 1875 brought financial San Francisco 
down with him. Resolved to break the Bank of California, the Nevada 
Four planned to open a rival bank. Ralston meanwhile was seeking 
control of the Ophir mine, valued fictitiously at $31,000,000, in the 
belief that it covered part of the Big Bonanza. James Keene, presiding 
member of the Stock Exchange, quietly bought large blocks of Ophir 
stock for him. "Lucky" Baldwin, hearing the stock was in great de- 
mand, secured many shares which he sold, netting himself a nice profit 
of millions. Ralston alone was overloaded with Ophir stock when it 
was disclosed that the mine was an empty hole. William Sharon, 
Ralston's right hand man, had known and quietly unloaded his shares 
in the mine, neglecting to tell Ralston. In February, 1875 a rumor 
swept the city that the Big Bonanza had given out, and the stock market 
crashed. The drop in market values shook the Bank of California. It 
began to be rumored that the bank was unsound, and that Ralston was 
to blame because of his speculations. The new Bank of Nevada with- 
drew cash deposits from the leading banks of San Francisco, in order to 
open its own doors with a $5,000,000 reserve in actual coin. The with- 
drawals sent most of the banks to the edge of insolvency. Ralston began 
to sell his holdings wherever possible in order to raise money. On 
August 26, 1875, after weeks of crashing values in mine shares and an 
exhausting run, the Bank of California closed its doors. 

The next day Ralston, as was his habit, went swimming. His 
drowned body was found in the Bay off North Beach. 

The failure of the Bank of California for a time stopped all trading 
on the Exchange. The bank was reorganized by D. O. Mills and 
William Sharon, who had profited heavily by sale of Ophir stock. But 
when it reopened, it found the Bank of Nevada, opened a few days later 
by the Nevada Four, already dominant in San Francisco. 

Montgomery Street's era of crusading capitalists had come to an 
end. In the period that followed, high finance pursued a steadier 
course. In 1875 the San Francisco Clearing House, first in the State, 
was organized; before the year had passed it was fifth in importance in 
the United States. The year 1877 saw the establishment of a State 
Board of Bank Commissioners, despite terrific opposition. In 1882 the 
present San Francisco Stock Exchange was established. The year fol- 
lowing, Charles Crocker organized the banking firm of Crocker- Wool- 
worth and Company, which today is the Crocker First National. The 
1884 depression in the Eastern States was scarcely felt in San Francisco, 
but closer financial ties brought the effects of the 1893 panic to Mont- 
gomery Street within a few months of the time it was felt in New 

The fire of 1906 was the occasion for the rise of another spectacular 
figure. Since 19^4, A. P. Giannini, a commission merchant who had 


retired with a comfortable income at the age of thirty-two, had been 
trying out his banking theories in the Bank of Italy (now the Bank of 
America), which he and his step-father had founded. Giannini was 
able to turn the disaster of 1906 to his advantage when he managed to 
remove the assets and records from his bank before the advancing fire 
reached them. They were hauled to his San Mateo home in wagons 
from his step-father's commission warehouse and camouflaged with a 
heap of fruits and vegetables. The Bank of Italy was the first in the 
city to be re-opened. 

In 1909, Giannini launched a drive to create a State-wide system 
of branch banks on the theory that branch banking was the best safe- 
guard against failure of banks in single-crop or single-industry regions 
because they served to spread the risk. His streamlined advertising 
campaign with full-page advertisements in the newspapers was un- 
precedented in banking history. He added bank after bank to his 

When the Federal Reserve System was established by Congress in 

1913, San Francisco was selected as center for the Twelfth Federal 
Reserve District. Established in the following year, the San Francisco 
Federal Reserve Bank by 1939 had a membership of 282 of the 574 
banks in operation in the twelfth district comprising an area including 
California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and most of 
Arizona. Its resources have grown from $1,965,555,000 in December, 

1914, to little short of $6,000,000,000 in 1939. 

Of the vast financial network comprising present-day San Fran- 
cisco's citadels of business, the Wells Fargo Bank and Union Trust 
Company Wells Fargo merged with the Nevada National Bank in 
1905 and with the Union Trust Company in 1924 and the Hibernia 
Savings and Loan Society alone have had uninterrupted existence since 
the feverish days in which they were founded. But San Francisco 
remains the financial capital of the West. Six of its 21 banking firms 
are listed among the 50 largest in the country. The Bank of America, 
operating 506 branch banks throughout the West, ranks as the Nation's 
fourth largest financial corporation; its earnings in 1938 were $10,000,- 
ooo greater than those of any other banking institution in the country. 
Only one San Francisco bank has failed in more than 30 years, and that 
one, a branch of the Bank of Canton, collapsed during a monetary crisis 
of the Chinese Revolution in 1926. Following the stock market crash 
of 1929, the leading bankers of San Francisco met and pledged a 
revolving fund of $100,000,000 to protect the city's banks against 
failure, with the result that not one cent was lost to depositors. Con- 
stantly seeking new outlets for investment the city's financial institutions 
have increasingly assumed closer control of industry and agriculture, of 
shipping and transportation. 


San Francisco's bank clearings for 1938 totaled $7,000,000,000, 
fifth highest in the United States. Its per capita wealth is the highest 
in the country. 


San Francisco workers are proud of their unions and jealous of 
union welfare. Employers estimate that half the population of San 
Francisco consists of union members and their families. All major 
West Coast union organizations maintain offices or headquarters in the 
city. There are an extensive inter-union sports movement and a junior 
union movement for the children of union men. The newspaper guilds- 
men, the warehousemen, the longshoremen, the bartenders, and the 
waiters and waitresses, among others, hold annual grand balls that are 
attended by thousands. The labor press, steeped in tradition, has a 
large following of readers. The CIO broadcasts a radio labor news 
program that is popular with AFL and CIO members alike. Despite 
the division between American Federation of Labor and Congress of 
Industrial Organizations, union men of both groups intermix freely. 

Today industry-wide agreements arrived at by bargaining over the 
round table are becoming fairly common in the Bay area, particularly 
in the water-front industry, where both labor and employers are strongly 
organized. Sometimes these conferences are as dramatic in their own 
way as the strikes or lockouts which they often supplant. Union men 
and employers, at the appointed hour, crowd into the room, which more 
often than not is located in one of the city's most modern office build- 
ings. Opponents may exchange guarded jokes. Brief cases are tossed 
on a table liberally supplied with ash trays. Debate is conducted with 
an alertness that demands frequent nervous lighting of cigar or cigaret. 
The press is often admitted. If an agreement is reached, its terms 
become big news, splashed at once across the front pages of the city's 
newspapers. When there is a deadlock, newspaper editors offer their 
own alternatives in front page editorials. Citizens write letters to their 
favorite papers suggesting solutions which are printed in the public 
forum columns. Columnists and radio commentators discuss the issues. 
Heated debates break out on the early morning streetcars. 

Twice in recent years a water-front dispute has been taken to the 
general public by means of "town meetings" held in the Civic Audi- 
torium and attended by thousands. There employers and union repre- 
sentatives debated from the platform and their talks were broadcast 
over extensive radio hookups. The audience often was as partisan as 
the chief participants, but a general good humor prevailed. 

The city's union consciousness had its beginning in the days of the 
Gold Rush. "There are evidences of such early trade union activity in 
San Francisco," writes Lucille Eaves, "that one is tempted to believe 


that the craftsmen met each other on the way to California and agreed 
to unite." At least one instance proves the point: in 1864, when the 
Employers' Association of San Francisco, attempting to smash a strike 
of iron molders, wired East for strikebreakers, the unions dispatched 
representatives to Panama who met the men hired to take their jobs; 
when the ship docked in San Francisco all walked ashore as union 
brothers. Among the men who came to San Francisco were many from 
countries of Europe where the struggle for unions already had been in 
progress for many long years. 

To combat an exorbitant cost of living, the unorganized carpenters 
and joiners struck in 1849, demanding a wage increase, which they won. 
Before a year had passed the San Francisco Typographical Society had 
been organized as the first bona fide trade union on the coast. Team- 
sters, musicians, riggers and stevedores, and building trades workers 
soon followed suit. These early unions, organized on the basis of im- 
mediate demands, appeared and disappeared in bewildering variety until 
the campaigns for the eight-hour day and against the competition of 
cheap Chinese labor supplied rallying points around which all could 
unite with some degree of permanence. 

The Chinese, accustomed to a low standard of existence in their 
homeland, were employed here in many trades at a wage much lower 
than the Occidentals could afford to accept. The thousands of coolies 
who helped build the first railroad across the American continent were 
paid as little as $30 a month. When the railroad was completed, they 
flocked to San Francisco. In 1872 it was estimated they comprised 
nearly half of all the factory workers in the city. Occidental workers 
feared and resented the competition of this cheap labor. To combat it, 
they joined in an anti-Chinese campaign that sometimes found outlet in 
violence. It led finally to adoption of the Chinese Exclusion Act by 
the State legislature in the i88o's. Although anti-Chinese sentiment 
was widespread for many years after, the admission of Chinese to mem- 
bership in a number of unions during recent years has marked its passing. 
A strike here of Chinese girls, members of the International Ladies 
Garment Workers Union, gained Nation-wide notice in 1937 when the 
attractive and dainty women pickets were pictured in the press of the 

Out of the turbulence of the anti-Chinese movement arose Dennis 
Kearney, one-time vigilante and opportunist extraordinary. For a time 
his violent talks, made on the sand lots in what is now the Civic Center, 
captured the imagination of thousands. Opposed to him was a sincere 
young Irishman, a Fenian exile, named Frank Roney. The group 
around Roney succeeded in discrediting Kearney, who retired to private 
trade to be heard from no more. But Roney continued an active mem- 


her of the trade union movement for many years. He organized the 
Seamen's Protective Association and became its president. 

Largely because of Roney's work the Trades Assembly, a city-wide 
group, succeeded in doubling its membership. His plan of organizing 
unions into trade councils was later to be adopted on a national scale by 
the AFL. When the Trades Assembly sent delegates to a convention 
of the Federated Trades and Labor Union of the United States (which 
later became the American Federation of Labor), held in 1881, San 
Francisco labor for the first time became affiliated with an organization 
national in scope. 

Always the lot of American seamen had been a hard one, and San 
Francisco was known as one of the world's toughest ports. It was 
common for a seaman ashore after a long trip, his wages in his pocket, 
to buy a drink at one of the many saloons and wake up next morning 
aboard a vessel bound for Shanghai. The practice of kidnapping was so 
common that the term "shanghai" was applied to it. Against such 
abuses the Seamen's Protective Association fought. 

A fight against wage cuts in 1885 resulted in formation of the Coast 
Seamen's Union. From this organization came the ascetic Norwegian, 
Andrew Furuseth. Emotional, sharp-featured, and extremely energetic, 
Furuseth, who later was known simply as "Old Andy," spent most of 
his life with the seamen. He was credited with knowing more about 
sea law than any other man alive. In his later years he helped unite 
American seamen into the International Seamen's Union, comprising 
sailors, firemen, and cooks and stewards. Aided by Senator Robert M. 
LaFollette in 1915, he succeeded in securing passage of the Seamen's 
Act, a Magna Carta of liberation for these men. 

The Employers' and Manufacturers' Association of San Francisco, 
newly organized, opposed unionization in a campaign that took real 
effect as the depression of 1893 reached its depths. As union member- 
ship dropped to a mere 4,500, at least 35,000 jobless workers tramped 
the streets of the city in search of food and work. In 1894 tne Amer- 
ican Railway Unions struck against the Pullman Company in Chicago. 
Trains stopped and trans-Bay ferry service was paralyzed for ten days. 
Federal troops marched into San Francisco. In Oakland citizens raided 
roundhouses to extinguish fires in the locomotives. At this time, too, 
the Bay area contingent of the famous Coxey's Army was organized. 
Under the command of "General" Charles T. Kelley the unemployed 
army, credited with superior discipline, sought refuge for a few days in 
Oakland, then started on the long box-car ride across the continent. 

Meanwhile the men on the water front had organized the City 
Front Federation. Several times before similar federations had been 
organized, notably the Wharf and Wave Federation in 1888 and the 
City Front Labojr Council in 1891. But the City Front Federation 


was the strongest yet to be formed; it was, in fact, one of the best- 
organized groups of its kind in the country at that time. As the depres- 
sion gradually became history, other union groups began to show signs 
of life. Particularly in the building trades did the organizing campaign 
show results. In December, 1900, the Central Labor Council called a 
convention of California unions at which a State Federation of Labor 
was formed. At the same time a State Building Trades Council was 
set up with P. H. McCarthy as president, an office he held continuously 
until 1922. Employers, too, were organizing. They built a new asso- 
ciation, raised a huge war chest, and instituted a boycott against re- 
calcitrants who recognized union groups. The new association operated 

In 1901 trouble developed between the teamsters and the Draymen's 
Association that rapidly developed into a lockout. When the City 
Front Federation came to the aid of the teamsters, Bay area traffic was 
tied up. After a deadlock lasting two months, Governor Henry T. 
Gage came to San Francisco and arranged a meeting between employers 
and workers. A compromise was effected within an hour, the terms of 
which never were made public. The teamsters became a powerful 
segment of organized labor. Under the leadership of a broad-shouldered 
Irishman, Michael Casey, they branched out into fields hitherto un- 
touched by unions. But the City Front Federation, wracked by in- 
ternal dissension, declined in importance. Sailors, however, emerged in 
possession of a new agreement with shipowners. 

The labor unions, angered by what they considered unnecessary 
police violence during the teamster struggle, formed the Union Labor 
Party. Aided by Father Yorke, Catholic priest and intimate friend of 
Jack London, the new party succeeded in gaining the election of Eugene 
Schmitz, a member of the Musicians' Union, as mayor. Three labor 
men were elected to the Board of Supervisors. But Schmitz became the 
puppet of Abe Ruef, shrewd political boss, and graft, corruption and 
bribery flourished. Ruef, Schmitz, and the supervisors were indicted 
by the grand jury in a reform wave that followed the 1906 earthquake. 
Ruef went to prison, but his henchmen and backers went free. Patrick 
Calhoun, head of the street railway corporation, which had been im- 
plicated in the bribery exposures, engineered a strike of the streetcar 
workers. Andrew Furuseth, Mike Casey, and Fremont Older attempted 
to halt the strike but were unsuccessful. When Calhoun imported 
strikebreakers who terrorized the carmen, it appeared he had saved the 
city, an impression he deliberately had set out to create. The carmen's 
union was demoralized. 

Meanwhile P. H. McCarthy of the building trades unions had 
forged to the front. In 1909 he was elected mayor. Under his leader- 
ship the Building Trades Council built its own mills and enforced a 


boycott against mills outside the city, mills with wage rates lower than 
those of San Francisco. 

When the longshoremen struck in 1916 for higher wages, the em- 
ployers and the Chamber of Commerce organized the Law and Order 
Committee and issued a lengthy manifesto calling for unity of San 
Francisco's citizens. The Law and Order Committee succeeded in 
getting the city to pass an anti-picketing ordinance. Meanwhile, the 
war in Europe had begun to affect this country, which at the same time 
was engaged in a punitive expedition against Mexico. The atmosphere 
was tense. As anti-German sentiment grew, people were seeing spies 
behind every telephone. The city planned to hold a parade in favor of 

The parade, held July 22, 1916, had hardly gotten under way when 
a bomb exploded at Steuart and Market Streets, killing ten persons and 
injuring many more. Newspapers demanded the arrest of those guilty 
of the outrage. Among those arrested were Thomas J. Mooney and 
Warren K. Billings, both of whom were convicted. 

Labor in California and throughout the United States was convinced 
that the two men were innocent. When repeated protests of world-wide 
scope caused President Woodrow Wilson to request Governor William 
D. Stevens to exercise leniency, Mooney's death sentence was commuted 
to one of life imprisonment. Later investigations disclosed irregularity in 
the conduct of the trial, in the handling and testimony of witnesses, and 
in the treatment of the jury. Judge Griffin, in whose court the trial had 
been held, declared in 1929: "The Mooney case is one of the dirtiest 1 
jobs ever put over and I resent the fact that my court was used for such 
a contemptible piece of work." As time wore on Mooney and Billings 
became, for labor, symbols of injustice, until Governor Culbert Olson, 
fulfilling a campaign promise, was able to pardon Mooney and aid in 
securing the release of Billings. 

In 1921 San Francisco employers again drew closer together, form- 
ing the Industrial Association. The building trades unions lost ground 
when faced with the strong opposition of the new employer group. 
Metal trades workers and seamen lost strikes in 1921; carpenters, in 
1926. Longshoremen, since 1919, had been obligated to become mem- 
bers of the Longshoremen's Association of San Francisco, an organiza- 
tion they considered to be under employer domination. They called it 
the "Blue Book Union," deriving the name from the color of the 
membership books. The Industrial Association maintained an employ- 
ment office, a hotel for non-union workers, and a training school for 
non-union plasterers, bricklayers, plumbers, and carpenters. The only 
labor organizations that did not suffer from the general intertia that 
swept the city's trade union movement during this period were the 
Railway Brotherhoods. A Brotherhood bank was established in San. 


Francisco which merged with a non-labor bank after the collapse of the 
national Brotherhood's banking system. 

The depression beginning in 1929 further weakened the organized 
labor movement until union sentiment began to revive with the passage 
of the National Recovery Act. The men on the water front were 
among the first to take advantage of Section y-a of the act, dealing with 
labor organization. The longshoremen secured a charter under the 
International Longshoremen's Association of the AFL and, spurred by 
the pungent criticism and organizational appeals of an anonymously 
sponsored mimeograph bulletin, fully 90 per cent of the dock workers 
joined the ILA. Harry Bridges, wiry Australian longshoreman, came 
to the front as a leader and spokesman for the new group. A coastwise 
longshoremen's convention was held in 1934 an d demands were made 
upon the shipowners. Subsequently a strike vote was taken. 

On the morning of May 9 longshoremen in San Francisco and other 
Coast ports walked off the docks in what was to be one of the most 
dramatic struggles in the history of West Coast labor. On May 13 
the teamsters, despite opposition of their leadership, voted unanimously 
against hauling cargo to or from the docks. On May 15 the seamen 
joined the strike, presenting their own demands to the employers; licensed 
officers followed suit. The newspapers reported that on May 15, for 
the first time in the history of Pacific Coast ports, not a freighter left 
port. Events were rapidly approaching a climax when the Industrial 
Association announced to the public that the port would be opened on 
July 5- 

As the morning of July 5 dawned, strikers and police massed in great 
numbers at the pier from which cargo was to be hauled by non-union 
truck drivers. The pickets who attempted to approach the pier were 
forced back repeatedly by police. At Rincon Hill south of Market 
Street a pitched battle occurred between police and strikers. Two 
strikers were killed during the day and many were taken to the hospital 
suffering from wounds and tear gas. A few hours later the National 
Guard moved into the city and took over the water front. 

July 5, now memorialized by the water-front unions each year under 
the name of "Bloody Thursday," crystallized sentiment for a city-wide 
general strike in sympathy with the maritime unions. Union after union 
voted to go out. On July 17, first day of the general strike, it was 
estimated that 127,000 San Francisco workers had left their jobs. A 
peculiar silence descended upon the city. Market Street, usually one 
of the busiest streets in the Nation, appeared deserted. 

The general strike was ended July 20 at the instance of the Central 
Labor Council and thousands returned to their jobs. The water-front 
unions remained on strike for several days until their demands were 
given over to mediation. Eventually they gained greatly improved 


working conditions and, what was most important from their point of 
view, union hiring halls. A second maritime strike which tied up ship- 
ping along the entire coast in 1936 was ended in the first week of the 
new year with further improved working conditions. 

The organization of the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 
1935 found San Francisco sentiment divided. The longshoremen and 
their affiliates voted to join the new group, of which Harry Bridges 
was later made West Coast Director. The seamen were split; some 
preferred to remain with the AFL, some for a while maintained an 
independent status, and some joined the CIO. The effects of the split 
were felt in the bitter partisanship which appeared in the Maritime 
Federation of the Pacific, organized following the 1934 strike. But a 
strong and deeply rooted sentiment for unity in times of crisis prevented 

During the 1938 gubernatorial campaign in California organized 
labor united in San Francisco, pointing the way for the rest of the State 
in supporting candidates and issues favorable to the unions. Culbert 
Olson, the union-backed candidate, won the election. A State anti- 
picketing measure was voted down by a large majority. John F. Shelley, 
president of the AFL Central Labor Council, who was elected State 
senator from San Francisco, perhaps described the position of organized 
labor in the Bay area when he said : "When San Francisco labor is faced 
with a concrete issue, it will unite." 

In 1939 the major employers of the city organized an Employers' 
Council for the purpose of dealing unitedly with the unions. When 
Almon E. Roth, chosen to head the group, took over his duties, he told 
the newspapers that "San Francisco actually has had fewer strikes and 
labor disturbances in recent years than most American cities of com- 
parable size." 

Social Heritage 

"San Francisco knows how." 


OF ALL the arts San Franciscans have practiced, the one they 
have most nearly perfected is the art of living, but hedonism 
is only one of the elements of which San Francisco's civilized 
social tradition is compounded. Omar Khayyam's "Take the Cash and 
let the Credit go" has been as freely accepted for a motto, perhaps, as 
his "jug of wine" and "loaf of bread" and more freely than the spirit- 
ual precepts of the city's official patron, the gentle St. Francis. 

Yet all through this materialism runs a fugitive thread of humani- 
tarian tenderness; a reverence for culture, often uncritical; a funda- 
mental urbanity. Every viewpoint has had its say in the city's long 
succession of journals and newspapers. Enriched also by this democratic 
quality is the whole history of the city's devotion to the theater, to musi- 
cal performances and art exhibits, to restaurants and cabarets and bars. 
Where so much of living has vitalized a popular culture, the social 
heritage is bound to have a special richness. 


A "sort of world's show of humanity" such was that San Francisco 1 
which so impressed the visiting Britisher, J. D. Borthwick, in 1851, 
with its "immense amount of vitality compressed into a small compass." 
Around the same table in the gambling saloons he found "well-dressed, 
respectable-looking men, and, alongside of them, rough miners fresh 
from the diggings, with well-filled buckskin purses, dirty old flannel 
shirts, and shapeless hats; jolly tars half-seas over . . . Mexicans 
wrapped up in their blankets smoking cigaritas . . . Frenchmen in 
their blouses smoking black pipes; and little urchins, or little scamps 
rather, ten or twelve years of age, smoking cigars as big as them- 
selves . . ." Along the streets, old miners were to be seen loafing about 
"in all the glory of mining costume . . . Troops of newly arrived 
Frenchmen marched along . . . their persons hung around with tin 
cups, frying-pans, coffee-pots, and other culinary utensils . . . Crowds 
of Chinamen were also to be seen, bound for the diggings, under gigan- 
tic basket-hats . . ." 

After the first rush to the mines, most of this mob of immigrants 
returned to San Francisco to stay. Careless of the professions to which 

12 7 


they had been trained, doctors and dentists became draymen, barbers, 
or shoeblacks. Lawyers and brokers turned waiters or auctioneers or 
butchers; merchants became laborers and laborers, merchants. Any and 
all of them kept lodginghouses and gambling saloons, speculated in real 
estate and merchandise always ready to embark on some new enter- 

Not without reason did the Argonauts boast that no coward ever 
started for California and no weakling ever got there. The Gold Rush 
was composed almost entirely of young men, many in their 'teens, with 
a lust for adventure as strong as their lust for fortune. In this adven- 
turers' paradise, ladies of joy reveled in a degree of latitude rarely 
heard of in American history. While cribs and brothels catered to the 
unfastidious, more sumptuous parlors enticed the discriminating. When 
"the Countess," San Francisco's leading courtesan of 1849, opened her 
establishment, she sent cards of invitation to the town's leading citizens, 
not excluding the clergy. Full dress was the rule at this fasionable 
rendezvous, and six ounces of gold dust, or $96, was the price of an 
evening's entertainment. 

Any talents used to entertain the public were handsomely appre- 
ciated. Dr. D. G. Robinson, part-owner of the Dramatic Museum, 
was elected alderman in 1851 to reward him for the pleasure he had 
given by renditions of his "Random Rhymes." No one thought it 
strange in 1849 when the Commissioner of Deeds, Stephen C. Massett, 
resigned from his job to compose songs and to give recitations and 
imitations. A strolling piper with "cymbal, triangle, accordion and 
bass-drum" gathered a "harvest," and "Dancing Billy" earned enough 
to buy drinks all around each time he stopped, and was able to pay his 
musician $50 an hour. The musicians "blew and scraped, thrummed 
and drummed, jingled and banged throughout the live-long day and 

In every saloon were tables for monte and other card games, or for 
rondo and roulette and chuck-a-luck. Gambling facilities were the main 
source of revenue in all hotels. Merchants had to bid against their 
operators for places to do business; the resorts spilled over onto the 
wharves. Most of the gold which miners brought to town made its 
final disappearance over the tables, for the men had a superstition that 
it was bad luck not to be flat broke when they started back to the mines. 

In 1853, the editors of the Christian Advocate made a survey of the 
town and "found, by actual count, the whole number of places where 
liquor is sold in this city to be five hundred and thirty-seven." Of 
these, 125 places did not even "keep an onion to modify the traffic." 
Forty-eight were "dance-houses and such like, where Chinese, Mexi- 
cans, Chilean, and other foreign women are assembled." Contemporary 
writers describe the saloons as "glittering like fairy palaces." The 


outlying taverns were spoken of with no less warmth: "A jolly place 
to lounge in easy, ricketty, old China cane chairs and on bulgy old 
sofas" was MacClaren's, on the lane to the Mission. Little inns with 
similar charm were strung along all the rural roads. 

On Sunday, the Spanish village at the Mission was aglitter with 
the silver trappings of hitched horses, whose owners, having ridden out 
from the commercial settlement, were spending the day in the Spanish 
taverns. The Russ Gardens, along the Mission Road, were taken over 
on holidays and Sundays by national groups who "leaped, balanced and 
twirled, danced, sang, smoked and made merry." 

Though the 1850*5 saw no abatement in gambling, drinking, and 
carousing, the more discriminating element of the population was gradu- 
ally withdrawing from the more popular saloons and restaurants. New 
hotels and cafes were being established to meet their demands. The 
Parker House with its elegant appointments, its apple toddy, and its 
painting of Eugenia and Her Maids of Honor, vied for popularity with 
the Pisco Punch and the Samson and Delilah of the Bank Exchange. 
Around these, the Tehama, and the St. Francis gathered those who 
were groping toward refinement and that privacy which their lack of 
homes denied them. Private gambling dens were set up and a process 
of social selection began. 

Steve Whipple's gambling house on Commercial Street was trans- 
formed, in 1850, into the first gentlemen's club, its clientele girded in 
swallowtails and flashing diamond cuff links. Such devices for "draw- 
ing the line" were not without painful consequences to that spirit of 
camaraderie which the average forty-niner had naively come to expect of 
his fellow men. An anecdote of this period tells of a miner, wearing 
the rough clothes of the "diggings," who wandered inside and was 
politely informed by a waiter that he had strayed into a private club. 

"A private club, eh?" retorted the miner. "Well, this used to be 
Steve Whipple's place and I see the same old crowd around!" 

Nevertheless, San Francisco's leading citizens were determined to 
create some kind of orderly and civilized social pattern; and this tre- 
mendous task was finally solved by elevating the saloon, the cafe, and 
the theatre to places of social distinction. Even before 1851 there had 
been attempts to stage decorous balls and parties where "fancy dress" 
was required, but even the most successful of these affairs could not 
attract more than 25 ladies. A record was set in June, 1851, by the 
attendance of 30 fair maidens at the first of a series of soirees given at 
the St. Francis; and when 60 ladies showed up at the July soiree, the 
newspapers commended the St. Francis for the "social service" it had 

But this hotel (which also first introduced bed sheets to the city) 
was to be the scene of an even greater triumph. This was a grand ball 


organized by the Monumental Six, the city's first company of volunteer 
firemen, at which no less than 500 ladies were present. It was said 
that California was ransacked for this array of femininity, and that 
some of them were brought by pony express from as far east as St. 
Joseph, Missouri. The press declared that at last "the elements were 
resolving themselves into social order." 

Since the brilliance of this affair was not immediately repeated, the 
process of social cohesion threatened to give way once more to the rough- 
shod individualism of the forty-niners. Even the respectable women of 
San Francisco complained of the high cost of party dresses and avoided 
going out into the muddy and rat-infested streets. The men started 
attending the theater, but it offered little attraction. The rainy season 
set in and brought monotony to the city which, until then, had never 
known a dull moment. 

In this social emergency, some enterprising individuals hit upon the 
idea of presenting a series of "promenade concerts." "A large crowd 
was present on the first evening, but . . . there were no ladies present 
to join in the ball at the close of the concert; and such a scene as was 
presented when the dancing commenced beggars description. . . . The 
music commenced; it was a polka; but no one liked to venture. At 
last two individuals, evidently determined to start the thing, ladies or 
no ladies, grappled each other in the usual way . . . and commenced 
stumping it through the crowd and around the hall ... As dance- 
after dance was announced more and more joined in, until ... the 
whole floor [was] covered with cotillions composed entirely of men, 
with hats on, balancing to each other, chassezing, everyone heartily 
enjoying the exhilarating dance . . ." Whether or not the affair was a 
"failure," as McCabe's Journal called it, the promenade concerts were 

What civic-minded San Franciscans could never quite accomplish 
in the battle for social cohesion was brought about by natural and dire 
necessity. As a result of the conflagrations that had almost destroyed 
the city on six successive occasions, there had sprung up a number of 
companies of volunteer firemen, to which it was generally considered 
an honor to belong. A parade of San Francisco's firemen was the occa- 
sion for the whole State to go on a Roman holiday. Preceded by blar- 
ing bands and the gleaming engines decked with flags, the parades 
stretched a mile in length. Each fireman marched proudly to the 
martial music, attired magnificently in his red shirt and white muffler, 
his shiny black helmet, and his trousers upheld by a broad black belt. 
Each firehouse, on parade days, was thrown open to the public. The 
city's leading breweries gave kegs of beer, and other firms donated 
crackers, cheese, and sandwiches. 

The engine hduses themselves were furnished as lavishly as the 


hotels and restaurants of the later fifties. Howard Engine, to which 
Sam Brannan gave allegiance, was one of the most splendid of them 
all and was especially noted for the brilliance of its social functions. 
The Monumental Six and the High Toned Twelve might boast more 
elegant houses, but the "Social Three," as Howard Engine was popu- 
larly known, had the only glee club and the first piano. Long after- 
wards, San Franciscans recalled with pride that magnificent dinner the 
"Social Three" once gave for the visiting firemen from Sacramento. 
The menu on that occasion, still preserved in the M. H. de Young 
Museum, was "of cream satin, a foot and a half long and a foot wide, 
highly embossed, and elaborately decorated in red, pink, and blue, the 
work of the finest ornamental printers in the city." 

So rapidly did the city grow that by 1856 all its aspects of intol- 
erable crudity had disappeared. Plank sidewalks brought a measure of 
safety to pedestrians, and substantial new buildings were going up in 
every street. The custom of promenading took hold on everyone; and 
Montgomery Street became for the next 30 years an avenue filled with 
the endless pageantry that was old San Francisco. 

It was a gay and motley crowd that paraded there every day of the 
week in the 1850*8 and i86o's a crowd utterly democratic and uncon- 
ventional. From the fashionable quarter at California and Stockton 
streets came the wives and daughters of San Francisco's wealthy set. 
"Tall, finely proportioned women with bold, flashing eyes and dazzling 
white skin" came from the half-world of Pike Street (now Waverly 
Place). Lola Montez was known to pass along this street, her bold 
admirers kept at a distance by the riding-whip she carried. Men were 
still in the majority; bankers, judges, lawyers, merchants, stock brokers, 
gamblers all wearing silk hats, Prince Albert coats, ruffled shirts, fancy 
waistcoats, and trousers fitted below the knee to display the highly 
polished boot. 

Mingling with this passing show were strange public characters 
whom everyone accepted as part of the parade. "George Washington" 
Coombs, who imagined himself to be the father of his country, paraded 
the streets in coat, waistcoat, and breeches of black velvet, low shoes 
with heavy black buckles, black silk stockings, and a cocked hat. The 
tall disdainful figure of "The Great Unknown," clad in the height of 
fashion and impenetrable mystery, was the cynosure for all eyes, but 
never was he known to stop or talk to anyone in the years he followed 
this solitary course. The street beggars, "Old Misery" (also known 
as the "Gutter Snipe") and "Old Rosey" each morning appeared, gath- 
ering odds and ends from refuse cans "Old Rosey" always wearing a 
flower, usually a rose, in his dirty coat lapel. There were also the two 
remarkable mongrels, "Bummer" and "Lazarus," whose relationship 


transcended ordinary animal affection; together they trotted the same 
course as the paraders. 

Also allowed a certain patronage was Oofty Goofty, the "Wild 
Man of Borneo" in a sideshow, who walked the sidewalks of the Bar- 
bary Coast, in a garb of fur and feathers, and emitted weird animal 
cries. Later he launched into new fields, allowing anyone to kick him 
for 10^, hit him with a cane or billiard cue for 25^, with a baseball 
bat for 50^. When the great pugilist John L. Sullivan tried his luck 
with the bat, Oofty Goofty was sent to the hospital with a fractured 
spine. After his recuperation, he engaged in freak shows as the com- 
panion and lover of "Big Bertha." 

The era was a heyday of street preachers: evenings and Sunday 
mornings would find "Old Orthodox" and "Hallelujah Cox" deliver- 
ing orations to accumulating multitudes. Stalking them would be "Old 
Crisis," a vitriolic freethinker of the times, who would mount the 
rostrum when they had vacated. The itinerant patent-medicine dis- 
tributors also did a thriving business. Of these, the "King of Pain," 
attired in scarlet underwear, a heavy velour robe, and a stovepipe hat 
decorated with ostrich feathers, rode in a black coach drawn by six 
white horses. Found daily on the sidewalks around the financial dis- 
trict was a greasy figure, old and lonely, displaying a large banner 
reading, "Money King, You Can Borrow Money Cheap"; he charged 
his borrowers exorbitant rates of interest. 

Last, but by no means least, came the Emperor Norton attired in 
his blue Army uniform with its brass buttons and gold braid and his 
plumed beaver hat. Everybody knew and liked this mildly insane little 
Englishman, who, after heavy financial reverses had wrecked his mind, 
styled himself "Norton I, Emperor of North America and Protector 
of Mexico." For two decades, traveling from one part of the city to 
another, he saw to it that policemen were on duty, that sidewalks were 
unobstructed, that various city ordinances were enforced. He visited 
and inspected all buildings in process of construction. The newspapers 
solemnly published the proclamations of this kindly old man, and his 
correspondence with European statesman. When in need of funds, he 
issued 50^ bonds, supplied by an obliging printer, which were honored 
by banks, restaurants, and stores. His funeral, in 1880, was one of the 
most impressive of the times, with more than 30,000 attending the cere- 
mony in the old Masonic Cemetery. When, only a few years ago, his 
remains were removed to Woodlawn Cemetery, down the Peninsula, 
an infantry detachment fired a military salute, and "taps" were blown 
over his grave. 

The "golden sixties" saw the flowering of a Western culture, 
wherein the uncouth, violent San Francisco of Gold Rush days evolved 
to the tune of Strauss waltzes and polite salutations from carriage win- 


dows; and the grand social events of the Civil War period brought 
to the Oriental Hotel, the Lick House, and the St. Francis a social 
pageantry, splendid and refined. The tobacco-spitting, gun-toting forty- 
niner was being taken in hand by such arbiters of propriety as Mrs. 
Hall McAllister and Mrs. John Parrott. Nouveau riche citizens of 
Northern sympathies were succumbing to the gracious mode of living 
taught by the Secessionists. The aristocratic Southern set, which in- 
sisted on a certain formality, could, however, always forgive those who 
violated its discipline with charm and wit and good taste. Gradually 
the fashionable parade of carriages outshone the promenade of Mont- 
gomery Street; and the exodus toward Market Street began, which 
was to erase the most distinguished feature of San Francisco as the 
city of the Argonauts. But it was in the large ball rooms of private 
homes that the magnificence of San Francisco's social life was shown 
to best advantage. Here, seemingly oblivious of the civil strife, San 
Franciscans gave full rein to their natural gaiety. 

The completion of the transcontinental railroad put an end to the 
splendid isolation in which San Franciscans had reveled for two decades. 
Soon the fantastic wooden castles of the Big Four were to rise on the 
summit of Nob Hill, to announce to an astonished citizenry that San 
Francisco was at last an American city. "California has annexed the 
United States" was the prevailing opinion, but it was only the final 
and defiant expression of the pioneer spirit that refused to admit its 
heyday was over. With money running plentifully, society in the seven- 
ties and eighties was tempted to relax, to catch what lavish silver-toned 
enjoyment emerged from its pompous realm. 

Marking the first official get-together of writers, artists, and dilet- 
tantes, the Bohemian Club was founded in 1872, with quarters on Pine 
Street above the California Market. Under the guidance of art-loving 
Raphael Weill, the club opened its portals to Sarah Bernhardt and 
Coquelin the Elder and, later, entertained with elegant breakfasts, 
luncheons, and dinners in the Red Room of its building at Post and 
Taylor streets. Other notables sampling the Bohemian Club's correct 
and charming hospitality, which was acknowledged to speak for all 
San Francisco, were Nellie Melba, Ellen Terry, Rudyard Kipling, 
Henry Irving, Helena Modjeska, and Ignace Paderewski. 

During this era and the "Gay Nineties" San Francisco was to 
achieve its reputation as "The Wickedest City in the World." The 
potbellied little champagne salesman, Ned Greenway, led society through 
the artful steps of the cotillion. Sprightly Lillie Hitchcock, as honorary 
member of the San Francisco Fire Department, aroused disapproving 
thrills among smart matrons by wearing the resplendent badge pre- 
sented her by the Knickerbocker 5. Returning from entertainment fur- 
nished in the rose-tinged Poodle Dog at Bush and Dupont Streets or 


from Delmonico's, famous for its soundproof rooms and discreet waiters, 
railroad builders and Comstock financiers chatted of rare vintages and 
made inward plans for "private" suppers. 

Along the Barbary Coast, the underworld whirled in fantastic steps 
to the rhythmic tunes of banging pianos, banjos, tom-toms, and blaring 
brass horns. It was the era of checkered suits, derby hats, and bright 
turtleneck sweaters. The police patrolled the district in pairs. Assisted 
by honky-tonk pianos grinding out "Franky and Johnny," gamblers 
fleeced their victims with inscrutable calm. From Barbary Coast dives 
to the Hotel St. Francis came the banjo, with Herman Heller as orches- 
tra leader, soon to be followed by Art Hickman's introduction of the 
saxophone, which would bring jazz to the modern era. 

It was into this phantasmagoric atmosphere that Arnold Genthe 
brought Anna Pavlowa on a slumming tour. At the Olympia, a glit- 
tering dance hall, she watched the rhythmic sway of the dancers. Fas- 
cinated, soon she and her partner were on the floor. No one noticed 
them, no one knew who they were. Feeling the barbaric swing of the 
music, they soon were lost in the oblivion of the time-beats of the 
orchestra. One couple after another noticed them and stepped off the 
floor to watch. Soon they were the only dancers left on the floor, 
the other dancers forming a circle around the room, astonished, spell- 
bound. The music stopped, Pavlowa and her partner were finished, 
there was a moment of silence. Then came a thunderous burst of ap- 
plause, a stamping of feet, a hurling of caps. The air was filled with 
yells of "More!" Pavlowa was in tears. 

San Francisco "remembered" the sinking of the battleship Maine 
with characteristic gusto in 1898. While transports clogged the Bay, 
the boys in blue camped in the Presidio hills and daily marched down 
Market Street to the troopships to the tunes of "There'll Be a Hot 
Time in the Old Town Tonight" and "Coon, Coon, Coon, Ah Wish 
Mah Color Would Fade." The Spanish War to San Franciscans was 
almost one continuous fiesta. Too late for the war, the battleship 
Oregon steamed into the Bay to celebrate the victory. Public sub- 
scription erected a monument to Admiral Dewey in Union Square. 

Soon the "ridiculous" horseless carriage was snorting along the roads 
in Golden Gate Park ; later it ventured timorously downtown to frighten 
the bearded or bustled citizens, who viewed the "newfangled contrap- 
tion" only to maintain that horse and cable cars "were fast enough." 

Near the corner of Powell and Market streets, in 1914, stood some 
of the most famous of the cabarets and taverns in the West. On 
Powell Street were the Odeon, the Portola Louvre, and the Techau 
Tavern. Around the corner was the Indoor Yacht Club. On Mason 
Street flourished the Black Cat, the Pousse Cafe, and Marquard's, and 
within walking distance were famous bars, such as the Waldorf and the 


Orpheum, and innumerable foreign restaurants. While the graft inves- 
tigation scandals of 1906 had forced the toning down of the city's night 
life, it was not until the war years and the advent of Prohibition that 
the death knell of San Francisco's gaiety was sounded. 

Most of the cabarets closed, never again to reopen. San Franciscans 
disdained grape juice and patronized the bootlegger; they escaped, how- 
ever, the curse of the gangster, who in most cities crept in with tem- 
perance. The Odeon became a cafeteria, as did the Portola Louvre. 
The Techau Tavern became a candy store ; Marquard's became a coffee 
shop. Over old San Francisco, twilight had fallen, from which it never 
would emerge. San Francisco would be the same city when the era 
of sobriety came at last to its end, but, like wine in a bottle once opened, 
then corked and laid away, its flavor would be gone. 


Through the ingenuous emotions of a child of the eighties, a famous 
San Franciscan has tried to lay a finger on the special and intrinsic 
values that have caused San Francisco to be considered a great theater 
city: "Actors in those days liked to go out to the Coast, and as it was 
expensive to get back and not expensive to stay there they stayed . . . 
Uncle Tom's Cabin . . . was very nearly my first play ... Then I 
enormously remember Booth playing Hamlet but there again the only 
thing I noticed ... is his lying at the Queen's feet during the play . . . 
although I knew there was a play going on there, that is the little play. 
It was in this way that I first felt two things going on at one time." 

The theater-goer here probing back into her childhood was a long- 
time resident of San Francisco Gertrude Stein later associated with 
the stage herself as the author of Four Saints in Five Acts. And the 
conclusion she draws may be extended to all the theater-goers and actors 
of San Francisco, who have never lost the feeling of two things going 
on at one time: that active co-operation of audience and actor. 

The Americans who came with their banjos ringing to the tune of 
"O Susanna!" were not content for long with wandering minstrelsy. 
By the middle of 1849, they had lined their pockets with gold, were 
dressed up, and wanted some place to go. In an abandoned school- 
house, from which the teacher and trustees had departed for the mines, 
on June 22, 1849, Stephen C. Massett, "a stout red-faced little English- 
man," adventurer and entertainer who also called himself "Jeems Pipes 
of Pipesville," gave a one-man performance of songs and impersona- 
tions, for which the miners were happy to pay him more than $500. 
Following Massett came the first professional company "h"-dropping 
Australians who presented on January 16, 1850, Sheridan Knowles' 
touching drama, The Wife. The excellence of this performance may 


be judged from the leading lady's speech, quoted from another play, 
The Bandit Chief: " 'is 'eart is as 'ard as a stone and I'd rayther take 
a basilisk and wrap 'is cold fangs around me, than surrender meself 
to the cold himbraces of a 'eartless villain!" The theater was filled 
with curious, excitable miners, who paid as high as $5 for admission. 
Yet the miners soon learned to order such hams out of town at the 
pistol point. 

The circus had already come to town, even preceding the Aus- 
tralians. Wandering by way of Callao and Lima, the enterprising 
Joseph A. Rowe brought his troop to a lot on Kearny Street, opening 
October 29, 1849. Here materialized a curious phenomenon, the alter- 
nation of circus performances with the tragedies of Shakespeare. Rowe 
on February 4, 1850, put on Othello the first of a long series of 
Shakespearean performances. 

The early i85o's were noted for a series of off-stage tragedies that 
periodically snuffed out the stage performances. Six disastrous fires 
brought theater buildings down with the rest of the city. In the period 
from 1850 to 1860, there were three Jenny Linds, two Americans, 
two Metropolitans, two Adelphis, to say nothing of structures not 
rebuilt the Dramatic Museum, the National, the Theatre of Arts, 
the Lyceum, and countless others. But with pioneer courage the city 

And struggling through these fires to make theater history in San 
Francisco were Tom Maguire and Dr. David G. "Yankee" Robinson 
utterly unlike except for their power as impresarios. With Dr. Robin- 
son came the first crude stagecraft and the first real satires on the local 
scene. On July 4, 1850, he opened his Dramatic Museum on Cali- 
fornia Street, with a localized adaptation of Seeing the Elephant, a 
popular circus deception. He started the first dramatic school in San 
Francisco. An actor himself and a kind of playsmith, he was the 
life-blood of his theater. One of his plays, The Reformed Drunkard, 
has had many revivals under the title Ten Nights in a Barroom. 

Beginning as an illiterate cab driver, gambler, and saloon keeper, 
Tom Maguire came to be one of the country's great impresarios. This 
man, like the city itself, was fiery, good-natured, both acquisitive and 
generous; ignorant, uncouth, eager for novelty and yet animated by 
a childlike passion to be a patron of "culture." Sleight-of-hand artists, 
opera singers, sensational melodramas, jugglers, minstrels, Shakespeare, 
leg-shows: all these succeeded each other swiftly at Maguire's Opera 
House during its eighteen years of existence. The only man comparable 
to him in his time was P. T. Barnum. 

The roaring fifties saw a cavalcade of exits and entrances on the 
San Francisco stage: James Stark, that ambitious young tragedian; 
Mrs. Sarah Kirb^ Stark, his wife, and a noted actress-manager; the 

San Francisco* s By-gone Days 






George Fanning 





. W. Harris 






James Hall 






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prolific and talented Chapman family, headed by William, Caroline 
and George; the perennial Mrs. Judah as Juliet's nurse; and the un- 
surpassed family of Booth, magniloquent Junius Brutus and the adoles- 
cent Edwin. The "Sensation Era" of the i86o's brought Lola Montez, 
Adah Isaacs Menken, and Lotta Crabtree, those glamor girls of the 
Gold Coast. And late in the i86o's came Emily Melville, of musical 
comedy fame, whose subdued style of the French school usurped the 
place of the "sensation" manner. 

It was the "Sensation Era" which saw the rise of the melodeons or 
variety houses, whose insouciance and camaraderie of atmosphere were 
to be found nowhere else but in San Francisco. They reflected the life 
of the city as the more respectable, more resplendent theaters did not. 
The girls who so cavorted might be found variously at the Bella Union, 
Gilbert's, and the other melodeons, in such extravaganzas as The British 
Blondes, The Black Crook, The Black Rook, or The Black Rook with 
a Crook. 

The "big time" theaters of the city came and went, and the "inqui- 
tous" Bella Union outlived them all, impudently mocking the preten- 
sions of the great. There were other melodeons: the Alhambra (later 
the Bush Street Theatre) ; Gilbert's Melodeon (later the Olympic) ; 
the Temple of Music (later the Standard); Buckley's Adelphi; the 
Pacific Melodeon and hosts of others of less importance. But of all 
these the Bella Union was the prototype. In the burlesques was the 
healthy spirit of satire; the minstrels alone had the temerity to deflate 
the balloon pretensions of the tycoon age. Many of the performers are 
still remembered: Lotta Crabtree, Joe Murphy "The Great," Joseph 
and Jeff de Angelis, Eddie Foy, Ned Harrigan, Eliza Biscaccianti, Ned 
Buckley, James Herne, and the incomparable Harry Courtaine. A 
periodic drunkard, irresponsible, incurable, the despair of managers and 
the delight of audiences, Courtaine always returned and was always 
forgiven because there was no performer like him in the city. 

The curtain went up on a new era, when William C. Ralston 
opened his new California Theater in 1869. In the audience were 
Bret Harte, Leland Stanford, James Fair, James Flood, John Mackay, 
and Emperor Norton. The name of the play was Money. A Bulletin 
reporter said rapturously of the drop curtain: ". . . the lookers-on were 
held breathless . . . with a thrill of surprised delight . . ." No less 
thrilling had been the scene outside the building, where grandes dames 
in full silk gowns had been met by the host, Lawrence Barrett. Pres- 
ently they heard from his lips the dedicatory poem a rapturous in- 
coherency from the pen of Bret Harte. 

The building of the California Theater was the signal for Tom 
Maguire's decline. The actors for whom Ralston built this sumptuous 
house, John McCullough and Lawrence Barrett, had both, ironically 


enough, been brought to San Francisco by Maguire. When his Opera 
House, on Washington Street, now "out of the way," was destroyed 
in 1873, along with its rival Metropolitan, Maguire took over two 
theaters in the Bush Street district. But the old magic touch was gone. 
Ralston 's entry into the theatrical world was the sign for other wealthy 
men to follow. In 1876 E. J. "Lucky" Baldwin built the Baldwin 
Academy of Music. Maguire, finding it harder to raise capital than 
in the old reckless days, became manager of Baldwin's Academy; but, 
in 1882, he threw up the sponge and departed for the East, never to 
return. With him departed an era. 

Later houses were chiefly notable for their actor-managers, the excel- 
lent stock companies which played there, and the world-famous actors 
who appeared: Edwin Booth, Lawrence Barrett, Adelaide Neilson, 
Helena Modjeska, John Drew, Maurice Barrymore, and a host of 
others. San Francisco was, and long remained, the only city in the 
United States, outside of New York, where a high-salaried player could 
be assured a long and lucrative stay. 

Probably the most dramatic incident in the history of the San Fran- 
cisco theater attended the production of The Passion Play at the Grand 
Opera House in 1879. Written by Salmi Morse, a Jew, it was an- 
nounced for March 8 and 9, with James O'Neill, a Catholic, as the 
Christus. A storm of protest followed mostly from clergymen and 
the Board of Supervisors threatened to prohibit the performance. They 
were forestalled by the production of the play on March 3. Riots 
broke out which threatened the safety of any recognizable Jew appear- 
ing on the streets. The production of the play continued, however, 
with interruptions, until April 21, when Morse withdrew it "in defer- 
ence to public opinion." The storm so affected him that a few months 
later he took his own life in New York. 

The end of the century saw David Belasco, a humble prompter 
at the Baldwin Theatre, laying the foundation for his career. It saw 
little Maude Adams, aged nine, in Fairfax; Lillian Russell, a youthful 
unknown, in Sparks at the Standard ; and Maurice Barrymore's talented 
daughter, Ethel, with a company including John Drew. Adelina Patti 
came to count out her $5,coo in cash every night before going on the 
stage, and Sarah Bernhardt, cooing, cursing, and dying in 130 roles; 
Anna Held augmented her theatrical prestige with publicity about 
beauty baths in milk; and Edith Crane, who appeared as Trilby, had 
full-sized photographs of her number 3 shoes published in the San Fran- 
cisco papers. And that same Mauve Decade saw Henry Irving and 
Ellen Terry; a very risque play at the Baldwin entitled Lady Winder- 
mere s Fan; and Blanche Bates in The Darling of the Gods. Marie 
Dressier came to dance the buck and wing, and Harry Houdini to make 
his mystifying escapes. 


All but one of the city's theaters, both elegant and rowdy, were 
eliminated at a single stroke by the fire of 1906. By that time the early 
millionaire angels were dying and leaving their money to more sedate 
institutions such as art galleries, so the local drama began its struggle 
back with less assistance than it had enjoyed before. The possibility 
of its recovering an important place in the life of San Franciscans was 
doomed by the advent of moving pictures. Since then there have been 
many nights when no curtain rose anywhere in a once-great theatrical 

In most of San Francisco's schools and recreation centers, however, 
amateur casts are unceasingly busy learning lines, making costumes, and 
staging performances. Hundreds of young San Franciscans have an 
exceptional appreciation for the drama because Maxwell Anderson, 
hoarding a trunkful of unproduced plays, put them through their Shake- 
speare at Polytechnic High. Many have worked with Dan Totheroh 
in the Mountain Play on Mount Tamalpais. Babies make their first 
acquaintance with the theater in fairy stories staged by The Children's 
Theater Association. 

The Theater Union, a permanent amateur organization of the 
socially conscious type, staged John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men in 
their Green Street Theater in the Latin Quarter, long before that play 
became a hit on Broadway. In the fine little theater in Lincoln Park 
overlooking the Golden Gate, Maestro Guilo presents rarely heard 
opera bouffe. Jack Thomas' Wayfarers have an esthetic slant; Barney 
Gould's Civic Repertory Theater plays in the Theater of the Golden 
Bough. The Federal Theater, too, until closed by Congressional law, 
presented such successes as Run Little Chilian and The Swing Mikado. 

In every section of the city amateur performances may be seen regu- 
larly in Russian, German, Yiddish, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Arabic, 
Czech, Finnish, Polish, Japanese. Of professional interest are the 
French and Chinese theaters. The Gaite Franchise, or Theatre d'Art, 
of Andre Ferrier, at 1470 Washington Street, is the only permanent 
French theater in America. San Francisco's Chinese theater was pro- 
fessional from the outset, and it set out very early in the i85o's. Two 
Chinese theaters now operate in San Francisco, the Great China and 
the Mandarin the only two in America and companies still come 
from China to San Francisco under special permit. 

For San Franciscans the theater has never been a shrine for the 
cult of indifrerentism. Many were the nights when Lola Montez 
heard cries of "Bravo" ; and many were the nights when she was pelted 
with vegetables. The spontaneity of theater audiences continues to 
draw comment from both sides of the footlights. John Hobart of the 
San Francisco Chronicle has stated succinctly San Francisco's distinc- 
tion as a theater city : "New York audiences are quick, but easily bored ; 


in Chicago, they are over-boisterous; in Boston, they are over-refined; 
in Los Angeles, they are merely inattentive. But in San Francisco the 
rapport between the people out front and the players behind the foot- 
lights is ideal, for there is stimulation both ways, and a kind of elec- 
tricity results." 


In one of San Francisco's gambling saloons, the El Dorado, a female 
violinist, "tasking her talent and strength of muscle," alternated musical 
offerings with exhibitions of gymnastic skill. At the Bella Union five 
Mexicans strummed the melodies of Spain. At the Aguila de Ora a 
group of well-trained Negroes gave the city's first performance of 
spirituals. Meanwhile, from lesser bars and shanties issued a cacophony 
of singing, stomping, and melodeon-playing. 

This was the town with hundreds of suicides a year, the town that 
stopped a theatrical performance to listen to an infant crying in the 
audience. It was the town of Australia's exiled convicts, of professors 
turned bootblacks, of a peanut vendor wearing a jurists's robes. Men 
outnumbered women twelve to one, had built a hundred honky-tonks 
but only one school. Here was humanity suspended in an emotional 
vacuum or what would have been a vacuum but for the lady gymnast 
tripping from trapeze to violin and the Negroes harmoniously invoking 
glory. The demand for music was furious and furiously it was sup- 
plied. Eventually normal living conditions were established; but the 
stimulus of music had been accepted as one of the permanent neces- 

The Gold Rush ballads had a tranquil prelude in the Gregorian 
chant taught by the Franciscan friars to the mission Indians. An ob- 
server, visiting one of the missions in later years, spoke of these choirs: 
"The Indians troop together, their bright dresses contrasting with their 
dark and melancholy faces . . . They pronounce the Latin so correctly 
that I could follow the music as they sang . . ." The friars next taught 
the Indians to play the violin, 'cello, flute, guitar, cymbal, and triangle, 
and their neophytes surprised them by producing a lyrical rhythm unlike 
either the religious or secular. 

Meanwhile, the Spaniards on their ranchos accompanied the day's 
activities with singing. In the midst of weaving, cooking, planting, 
and riding, the rancheros found time to celebrate at seed time as well 
as at harvest; they danced at all three meals. But the Spaniards' lively 
and nostalgic airs were destined to be silenced by lusty throats crying 
for gold. 

As early as 1849, the city's cafes began to cater to their patrons' 
diverse musical tastes. At the El Dorado, an orchestra "played with- 
out cessation music ranging from Mendelssohn and Strauss to the latest 


dance trot"; and Charley Schultz, who enticed customers into the Bella 
Union with his violin and singing, brought to San Francisco the Hawai- 
ian tune, "Aloha," to which he sang, "You Never Miss Your Sainted 
Mother 'Till She's Dead and Gone to Heaven." 

More to the miners' liking were songs that celebrated their own 
exploits, like "The Days of Old, the Days of Gold, and the Days of 
'49," first sung by Charles Benzel (known on the stage as Charles 
Rhodes), who came with the Argonauts. Another favorite was "A 
Ripping Trip," sung to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel" : 

"You go aboard a leaky boat 

And sail for San Francisco. 
You've got to pump to keep her afloat, 

You've got that by jingo. 
The engine soon begins to squeak, 

But nary a thing to oil her; 
Impossible to stop the leak, 

Rip goes the boiler." 

Other concerns of the miners were chronicled with "The Happy 
Miner," "The Lousy Miner," "Prospecting Dream," "The Railroad 
Cars Are Coming," "What the Engines Said," "What Was Your Name 
in the States?" These ballads were supplemented by songs brought 
from foreign homelands. 

But many citizens soon demanded more cultivated fare. San Fran- 
cisco's first concert was performed at the California Exchange on 
Monday afternoon, December 22, 1850 an exquisite execution of 
the classics on a trombone by Signor Lobero. Shortly after this the 
Louisiana Saloon gave a concert. But the attempt to uplift was only 
half successful; later the Alta California felt it necessary to admonish 
the audience: "We would respectfully advise gentlemen, if they must 
expectorate tobacco juice in church or at the theatre that they . . . eject 
it upon their own boots and pantaloons . . ." The Arcade Saloon an- 
nounced a series of "Promenade Concerts a la Julien." The Bella 
Union countered with the following invitation : "Grand vocal Concert 
with Accompaniment to the lovers of Music of Both Sexes " 

The Germans of San Francisco contributed their substantial talents 
to the city's musical development. Turnverein organizations became the 
center and stimulus of choral societies; by 1853, four German singing 
societies were in full swing and had held their first May Day festival. 

Miska Hauser, Hungarian violinist, originated the first chamber 
music group. His own words, appearing in his collected letters, tell the 
story: "The Quartett which I organized so laboriously gave me for a 
long time more pleasure than all the gold in California ... the Quar- 
tett in its perfection as Beethoven saw it, this mental Quadrologue of 
equally attuned souls. . . . My viola player died of indigestion and 


for some time I will miss the purest of all Musical pleasures. . . . Too 
bad that the other three were not solely satisfied with the harmonies of 
the Beethoven Quartett. They want a more harmonic attribute of $15 
each for two hours. . . ." 

Mr. Hauser may have had some difficulty in sustaining enthusiasm 
among his attuned souls, but, in the fifties and sixties, opera burst the 
town wide open. Eliza Biscaccianti, Catherine Hayes, and Madam 
Anna Bishop gave the city its first reputation as an opera-loving com- 
munity. When Biscaccianti opened her first opera season on March 22, 
1852, at the American Theatre, there were more calls for conveyances 
than the city could provide. According to the Alta California of March 
24: ". . . the evening marked an era in the musical, social and fashion- 
able progress of the city." Despite such appreciation, Mme. Biscacci- 
anti returned to San Francisco six years later to find that her place had 
been taken by Kate Hayes, press-agented as the "Swan of Erin." 

San Francisco lionized these singers in a manner befitting the 
legendary heroines whose lives they portrayed. When Madam Biscacci- 
anti sang Rossini's Stabat Mater, "Fire companies came out in full 
uniform to honor her and on one occasion their enthusiasm was so great 
they unhitched the horses from her carriage and pulled her to her hotel." 
To Miss Hayes also the volunteer firemen gave undeniable proof of 
their delight. 

How the firemen found time from drilling, fighting fires, and 
attending luminaries to make music of their own is a record of in- 
genuity. Several companies, however, gave band concerts both in and 
outside the city. Many other amateur groups often augmented pro- 
fessional offerings. Instrumental ensembles and singing societies were 
formed by immigrants from France, Great Britain, Switzerland, and a 
little later by Italians, Finns, and other Scandinavians. Professional 
musicians, amateurs, and audiences were en rapport during the invigorat- 
ing epoch of the Gold Rush. Thus, by 1860, a rich musical tradition 
was well on its way to becoming permanent. 

The development of symphony music was given its initial impulse by 
Rudolph Herold, pianist and conductor, who came to California in 1852 
as accompanist to Catherine Hayes. The first of Herold's concerts of 
notable magnitude occurred in 1865, when he conducted an orchestra of 
60 pieces at a benefit concert for the widows and children of two musi- 
cians. In 1874 he began his annual series of symphony concerts with 
an orchestra of 50 pieces, continued, with no financial succor to speak 
of, until 1880. After Herold's retirement, symphony concerts were 
given more or less regularly under such conductors as Louis Homeier, 
Gustav Hinrichs, and Fritz Scheel. Scheel, who later founded the 
Philadelphia Orchestra, was a musician of genius, esteemed by such 
renowned contemporaries as Brahms, Tchaikovski, and Von Biilow. 


No American theater did so much to popularize opera as the Tivoli, 
best remembered of all San Francisco's theaters, which Joe Kreling 
opened as a beer garden in 1875, with a ten-piece orchestra and Tyrolean 
singers. Rebuilt in 1879, it became the Tivoli Opera House. Its career 
began happily with Gilbert and Sullivan's Pinafore, which ran for 84 
nights. For 26 years thereafter it gave 12 months of opera each year, 
never closing its doors, except when it was being rebuilt in 1904: a 
record in the history of the American theater. For eight months of the 
year light opera Gilbert and Sullivan, Offenbach, Van Suppe, Lecoq 
was performed, and for four months, grand opera, principally French 
and Italian, occasionally Wagner. From the Tivoli chorus rose Alice 
Nielson, the celebrated prima donna. 

William H. Leahy, familiarly known as "Doc," who became man- 
ager of the Tivoli in 1893, was a keen judge of musical talent. His 
greatest "find" was Luisa Tetrazzini, whom he discovered while visiting 
Mexico City, where she was a member of a stranded opera company. 
In 1905 Tetrazzini made her San Francisco debut at the Tivoli as 
Gilda in Rigoletto and became forthwith the best-beloved singer in the 
city. When San Francisco was rebuilt after the earthquake and fire of 
1906 (as was the Tivoli), Tetrazzini returned to sing in the street, in 
front of the Chronicle office at Lotta's fountain, on Christmas Eve, 
1909. Jamming the streets in five directions was the densest crowd 
ever seen in the city. She also sang at the fourth Tivoli, opened in 
1913. But the heyday of the famous theater was over; and on Novem- 
ber 23, 1913, it gave its last operatic performance with Leoncavallo 
conducting his own / Pagliacci. 

How permanent was the city's musical tradition was proved some 
75 years later, when the citizens of San Francisco made their symphony 
orchestra the first and only one in the Nation to be assisted regularly 
with public money. Since its debut concert in 1911, the San Francisco 
Symphony had enjoyed more than local respect, under the successive 
direction of Henry Hadley, Alfred Hertz, Basil Cameron, Issay Do- 
browen, and Pierre Monteux. But during the 1934-35 season, condi- 
tions became so acute that of the playing personnel only the director, 
concert-master, and solo 'cellist remained. The situation was remedied 
by taxpayers who gave a half-cent of every dollar that found its way 
into the municipal coffers. 

Pierre Monteux, conductor since 1935, an ex-associate of the Metro- 
politan Opera and a former conductor of the Boston Symphony and 
several European organizations, has done much to reaffirm the orchestra's 
position. Beginning in 1937, tne season curtailed during the depres- 
sion was increased to 12 concert pairs, carrying over 18 weeks. The 
San Francisco Symphony was the first major orchestra to admit women 
to the playing personnel. It has also taken an interest in such youthful 


prodigies as Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, Grisha Goluboff, and 
Ruth Slenczynski. 

The San Francisco Opera Association owes its existence largely to 
Gaetano Merola, its general director, who came to California with an 
organization headed by Fortune Gallo, one of the many traveling com- 
panies that visited San Francisco following the twilight of the Tivoli. 
The present San Francisco Opera Company made its inaugural bow 
before the public in September, 1923, in the cavernous Civic Auditorium, 
originally built for convention purposes. In 1932, after 20 years of 
personal and political wrangling, the War Memorial Opera House 
first municipal opera house in the United States was completed. 

The season at the present time is divided into a regular subscription 
series of n performances and a popular Saturday night series of three. 
In its 17 years of existence, the San Francisco Opera Company has 
produced no single star of the first magnitude from its own ranks, but 
it has imported such singers as Lawrence Tibbett, Lotte Lehman, Lily 
Pons, Elizabeth Rethberg, Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior, and 
Giovanni Martinelli. The popular-priced San Carlos Opera Company's 
performances, during the unfashionable late winter months, invariably 
sell out. 

The "quadrologue of equally attuned souls" that Miska Hauser 
tried vainly to keep together is come to life in the present San Fran- 
cisco String Quartet, a lineal descendant of the earlier Persinger, Hecht, 
and Abas ensembles, which played for many years in and near San 
Francisco. The San Francisco String Quartet has held the leading posi- 
tion among the city's chamber music artists since 1934. 

The Northern California Music Project in San Francisco (formerly 
the Federal Music Project), now under the direction of Nathan Abas, 
not only has performed standard choral and symphonic works, but has 
resurrected with acute musical vigilance the opera bouffe, so popular 
with Europeans. Erich Weiler has given the operas English librettos, 
their humor pointed up with modern colloquialisms ; and the artists have 
caught their spirit of hilarious pasquinade. The project also maintains 
a free school of musical instruction for those unable to afford private 

Gaston Usigli, who directs the Bach festival each summer at Carmel, 
has been heard as guest-conductor with the project's orchestra, as has 
Dr. Antonia Brico, one of the few women in the world to wield a baton 
effectively. Arnold Schonberg directed the orchestra in the San Fran- 
cisco premiere of his own tone poem, Pelleas and Melisande. San 
Franciscans had to wait for the project orchestra's performances to hear 
Dmitri Shostakovich's First Symphony, and Paul Hindemith's Mathis 
der Maler. The project's chorus, as well as its orchestra, has composed 
its programs with imagination and initiative. But perhaps the most 


significant value of these musical organizations has been the opportunity 
they have given San Francisco composers and audiences to appraise 
music written locally. Exciting events were the world premieres of 
Ernst Bacon's Country Roads (Unpaved), Nino Gomel's The Conquest 
of Percy, and Tomo Yagodka's Sonata for Piano and Orchestra. 

The impact of the modern environment on the sensibilities of the 
artist has seldom been better expressed than by San Francisco's Henry 
Cowell. Though most audiences have been staggered, technically 
trained composers recognize the theoretical value of Cowell's contribu- 
tion to modern music. In the Marin hills overlooking the city, Ernest 
Bloch composed his rhapsody America, while serving as director of the 
San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Ray Green and Lew Harrison, 
local exponents of the modern experimental school, have written instru- 
mental music and brilliant compositions for dance groups. John St. 
Edmunds, composer of nearly 400 songs somewhat more traditional in 
technique, received in 1937 tne Columbia University Beams Prize. 

To many, the Barbary Coast's unbroken hum of melodeon, piano, 
Mexican orchestra, and singer was only San Francisco's brawling night 
voice. But one man caught in these sounds the musical implications of 
a future rhythm. This man was Ferdinand Rudolph van Grofe Ferde 
Grofe incomparable arranger of jazz, composer of Grand Canyon 
Suite and other notable interpretations of the American scene. As an 
extra piano player on call at the Old Hippodrome and Thalia, Barbary 
Coast resorts, he recorded in his mind a medley of folk songs, Negro 
dance tunes, and sailor's chanties. "The new music in the air along 
Pacific Street . . . did something to me!" 

When Grofe left the Barbary Coast to play the piano with Art 
Hickman's band at the St. Francis Hotel, the tvvo arranged music that 
was different and sparkling. Other orchestra leaders who played in San 
Francisco Paul Whiteman, Rudy Seiger, and Paul Ash became con- 
spicuous exponents of this new music. Recent band leaders who have 
taken off from San Francisco on their musical flights include Paul Pen- 
darvis, Dick Aurandt, Frank Castle, Carl Ravazza, and Ran Wilde. 

Home music makers in San Francisco often aspire to the highest 
professional standards. Amateur groups frequently meet to forget the 
tensions of the day in the sanity of Brahms or Bach, or in the work of 
local composers. Both the playing and the composing are marked with 
a strong beat of self-reliance, in whose echo can be heard the promise of 
San Francisco's musical future. 


For 60 years before the founding of Yerba Buena, the padres of 
Mission Dolores heard their Indian converts recite the Doctrina Chris- 


tiana, watched their Mexican parishioners lumbering over the sand hills 
in oxcarts to celebrate saints' feast days. And hardly had the first 
Argonauts pitched their tents around Portsmouth Square before a 
Protestant clergyman rose to deliver the doctrine of Methodism. Today 
nearly 300 churches, representing more than 50 denominations, exert a 
vast influence over the lives of thousands of San Franciscans. Many 
were founded amid the turbulence of the Gold Rush, others in the era 
of industrial expansion. Some have accepted high responsibilities in the 
city's struggles for public order. Issues of the Civil War, of State and 
municipal politics were declared from their pulpits. 

Sam Brannan's Latter-Day Saints assembled in harbor master Wil- 
liam A. Richardson's "Casa Grande" in 1847, but internal dissension 
and the Gold Rush soon caused them to lose their influence. Through- 
out the winter of 1848 Elihu Anthony, a layman, preached to packed 
audiences in the Public Institute. His rival, who drew a like number 
of listeners to this town meeting-house in the Plaza, was the Reverend 
Timothy Dwight Hunt, a Congregationalist missionary who followed 
his Argonaut flock from the Sandwich Islands. On his arrival in San 
Francisco, an enthusiastic citizenry elected him chaplain of the city 
for one year at a salary of $2,000. 

Gold-mad San Francisco offered opportunities for conversion only to 
such heroic missionaries as that Reverend William "California" Tay- 
lor, who conducted open-air meetings on Portsmouth Square in 1849 
and became the most renowned of the city's host of street preachers. 
This resourceful Methodist's approach to the adamantine hearts of his 
listeners he described later in his memoirs : "Now should a poor preacher 
presume to go into their midst, and interfere with their business, by 
thrilling every house with the songs of Zion and the peals of Gospel 
truth, he would be likely to wake up the lion in his lair. ... I selected 
for my pulpit a carpenter's work-bench, which stood in front of one of 
the largest gambling houses in the city. I got Mrs. Taylor and another 
lady or two comfortably seated, in the care of a good brother, and taking 
the stand, I sung on a high key, 'Hear the royal proclamation, the glad 
tidings of salvation', . . ." The good Reverend Taylor's summons 
brought people tumbling out of saloons and dancehalls "as though they 
had heard the cry 'Fire!' 'Fire!' 'Fire!'" Many remained to listen 
with respect. 

In 1854, the Reverend William Anderson Scott, D.D., LL.D., 
preached his first sermon in San Francisco to a crowd in a dancehall. 
Neighboring resorts closed during the services, while bartenders, card- 
dealers, and female entertainers flocked to hear this scholarly Presby- 
terian from one of New Orleans' largest churches. Subsequent meet- 
ings resulted in the construction in 1854 of a church on Bush Street, 
in a district then notorious for its dancehalls, gambling saloons, and dens 


of vice. In 1869 this neighborhood became so boisterous that the con- 
gregation had to seek a new home. But the Reverend Dr. Scott was no 
longer on hand to lead them. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he had 
preached the right of secession to an outraged membership, while a mob 
of Northerners stormed the front door of his church. Spirited out a 
rear exit by a loyal female supporter, he was whisked away in a carriage 
to a ship that took him to safety in New York. 

Among claimants to the honor of having erected the city's first 
Protestant church, Baptists point with pride to that makeshift affair of 
lumber and sailcloth into which the Reverend Osgood C. Wheeler led 
his little flock in March, 1849. The Baptist pastor closed his sermon 
in the spring of that year with a prediction of the city's great commer- 
cial future, urging his listeners to build an organization able to cope 
with so portentous a destiny. The Baptists were to prove equal to their 
obligations when the Reverend Isaac S. Kalloch headed the reform 
movement that elected him mayor in 1879. 

Meanwhile the six loyal followers of the Reverend Albert Williams, 
a Presbyterian clergyman, had met in a tent and laid plans for establish- 
ing a church of their own. When the prefabricated place of worship 
arrived from the East and was dedicated, thirty-two ladies attended the 
proceedings, much to the amazement of the male population. 

Just as the Gold Rush offered opportunities for every profession, it 
welcomed every creed. In such an atmosphere the timid religionist was 
as lost as the timid gambler, but for the resourceful there was a place. 
When the luckless miner or workman had nowhere else to turn, he could 
find a champion of his rights in the pastor of some friendly church. 
Even the last hours of the Vigilantes' victims were cheered by spiritual 

Of the Protestant sects which have accepted leadership in public 
affairs, none has had so decisive an influence on San Francisco and the 
State as the Unitarians. This denomination, during the critical period 
of the Civil War, had as its Abolitionist representative in California the 
fiery young evangelist, Thomas Starr King. He was only 35 when, in 
1860, he took over the pastorate of San Francisco's Unitarian Church. 
David Broderick, leading opponent of the State's powerful secessionist 
minority, had been killed the previous year; and Colonel E. D. Baker, 
having been elected United States Senator from Oregon, had left Cali- 
fornia with a ringing appeal for the election of Lincoln. Thus the task 
of holding the State in the Union column fell on the frail shoulders of 
the young preacher from Boston, whose personal charm and spellbinding 
oratory were instrumental in saving California with the election of 
Leland Stanford as governor in 1861. King's death four years later 
was due to his strenuous efforts collecting funds for the United States 
Sanitary Commission, the Red Cross of the Northern armies. 


While Lincoln hesitated to proclaim the issue of freedom for the 
slaves, Thomas Starr King appealed with Abolitionist fervor: "O that 
the President would soon speak that electric sentence, inspiration to 
the loyal North, doom to the traitorous aristocracy whose cup of guilt 
is full!" That King's idealism went beyond the issues of his day is 
revealed in his lectures in defense of both the Chinese in California and 
those white laborers whose hand was raised against them. 

The Nation observed King's passing with the firing of minute guns 
in the Bay; flags hung at half mast on foreign vessels in the Bay, on 
consulates and all public buildings in San Francisco. In 1927 the 
California Legislature bracketed his name with Junipero Serra's, and, 
with the $10,000 appropriated for the purpose in 1913, erected com- 
panion statues of these two official California heroes in Statuary Hall, 
Washington, D. C. 

The Episcopal Church can lay claim to the most romantic origin of 
all local religious institutions. Its Book of Common Prayer was used 
for the first time on American soil by the Golden Hinde's chaplain 
Francis Fletcher, in the service held on the shore of Drake's Bay on 
June 17, 1579 (old style). Two hundred and seventy years 
later, in 1849, the Reverend Flavel Scott Mines from Virginia estab- 
lished Trinity Church ; and in the same year Grace Church was founded. 
When Bishop Kip, in 1863, placed his Episcopal Chair in the latter, he 
thereby made it the first Episcopal cathedral in the United States. Per- 
haps no other religious leader in the city's history has occupied quite such 
social prominence as was accorded Bishop Kip. To a gay generation he 
represented a serenity of faith and a Christian liberalism in which the 
innocent frivolities of social life might be reconciled with religion. His 
successor, Bishop Nichols, lived to see the realization of his dream of a 
cathedral which, when finally completed, would be worthy of his 
church's ancient tradition. After the 1906 fire, which destroyed the 
original Grace Cathedral, wealthy families donated sites of their charred 
mansions on Nob Hill to the Episcopal diocese; and in 1910 the corner- 
stone of the present majestic Grace Cathedral was laid. 

To Gold Rush San Francisco also came leaders of the Roman 
Catholic faith; and the establishment of American rule offered an 
opportunity for the Catholic diocese in Oregon to found a pastorate of 
the Jesuit Order in San Francisco. That the prospects for this venture 
were more of a challenge than an invitation is clear from the record 
kept by a colleague of that Father Langlois who, in 1849, arrived to 
plant his faith "on the longed-for shores of what goes under the name 
of San Francisco but which whether it should be called the mad-house 
or Babylon I am at a loss to determine . . ." So hopeless appeared all 
but a handful of French-Canadians among the Argonauts that the good 


Father resolved to depend on these few strayed parishioners to form the 
nucleus of his congregation. 

With the establishment of Bishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany's diocese at 
Monterey, however, and the early arrival in San Francisco of Father 
Maginnis to aid in the work, Father Langlois was able to say Mass and 
baptize the first convert in a new parish chapel. Soon after the arrival 
from Ireland, in 1853 and 1854, of several Sisters of Mercy, the city's 
first parochial school had enrolled 300 pupils. Once St. Patrick's 
Church was established, the firm foundation was laid for the progress 
of Catholicism in San Francisco. On Christmas Day, 1854, St. Mary's 
Church was dedicated as the cathedral seat of newly consecrated Arch- 
bishop Alemany, whose spiritual domain included California and 

Despite its history of missionary achievements antedating the signing 
of the Declaration of Independence, the Catholic Church in San Fran- 
cisco had to start from scratch, after the 80 years of comparative pros- 
perity in which Mission Dolores had shared. Though title to the land 
and buildings of Mission Dolores was not restored to the Church until 
1860, it was occupied almost continuously by Franciscan or Picpus 
Fathers between the date of its secularization (1833) and the advent of 
American rule. The St. Thomas Aquinas Diocesan Seminary, operated 
at Mission Dolores between 1853 and 1866, was a pioneer in the revival 
of education ; but its efforts to teach white children resemble the arduous 
pedagogy of the colonial period. Thus matters stood until, in 1855, the 
Jesuits began the establishment of the College of St. Ignatius, from 
which the present University of San Francisco has grown. However 
great the debt owed by Catholicism to the missions and to Junipero 
Serra, the church in San Francisco has derived its present prosperity 
from the Gold Rush and bonanza wealth in which it shared. 

Two of the city's Hebrew congregations first assembled near Ports- 
mouth Square in 1849. Temple Emanu-El, founded by German Jews, 
and Temple Sherith Israel, whose original congregation was composed 
mainly of English and Polish elements, constitute today San Francisco's 
chief citadels of reformist Judaism. These congregations provide mag- 
nificent and modern cultural centers for the city's liberal Jewry. Rabbi 
Nieto, leader of Sherith Israel congregation for 32 years, played a prom- 
inent part in the restoration of the city after 1906. His advocacy of 
welfare facilities in connection with synagogues resulted in the estab- 
lishment of "Temple Centers" throughout the Nation. Today in San 
Francisco the Jews share with the Catholics, in institutions for public 
welfare which they have separately established, a major responsibility 
for the city's orphans and aged and destitute ; most of the city's hospitals 
owe their origin and maintenance to Catholic or Hebrew congregations. 

Especially characteristic of San Francisco is a host of lesser sects. 


From few city directories could be compiled such a list of denomi- 
nations and churches as this: Seventh Day Adventists (both Greek 
and Chinese), Mexican Baptists, Buddhists (American and Japanese), 
Molokans (Russian Christians), Armenian Congregationalists, the 
Christian Spiritualist Church, the Father Divine Peace Mission, the 
Glad Tidings Temple, the Golden Rule Spiritualist Church, Jehovah's 
Witnesses (Negro), the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, the Society of Pro- 
gressive Spiritualists, the Spanish Pentecostal Church, the Theosophists' 
United Lodge, the Tin How Temple (Chinese), and the Vedanta 

From San Francisco's diverse population, tens of thousands (50,000 
in 1940) each Easter morning make the difficult pilgrimage up the city's 
highest hill, Mount Davidson, to worship at the foot of the great cross 
on the peak. And, here, all forget their differences of creed in a com- 
mon reverence to that religious spirit which has remained a social force 
since the city's earliest days. 


"Some contend," said Yerba Buena's first newspaper in 1847, "that 
there are really no laws in force here, but the divine law and the law 
of nature; while others are of the opinion that there are laws in force 
here if they could only be found." This polite apology for a state of 
anarchy may have caused some speculation among readers of Sam Bran- 
nan's California Star, but it foretold nothing of the militant and decisive 
role journalism was to play for half a century in the public affairs of 
San Francisco. 

More indicative of this role was California's pioneer newspaper, the 
Californian, established in Monterey in 1846 and removed to Yerba 
Buena a year later. Its editor and publisher, when it became the Stars 
competitor, was that formidable Robert Semple who had helped lead 
the Bear Flag revolt and published manifestoes of the American occupa- 
tion. Hardly, however, had Brannan's little sheet begun to ridicule the 
Calif or nians mild reports of "Gold Mine Found" and "Doc" Semple's 
patriotic oratory, when news from Sutter's mill race caused both papers 
to suspend publication. Their publishers and printers joined the stam- 
pede to the diggings. 

Late in 1848, Edward C. Kemble acquired the Star, of which he 
had been editor when its weekly circulation "outside town and other 
parts of the globe" was a hundred copies ; and, soon after, he bought the 
defunct Californian and combined the two papers under the name Star 
and Californian. With two new associates, printers from New York, 
Kemble issued in January, 1849, the Alta California, which became 
San Francisco's leading source of news for the next 30 years. Not until 


1891 did ft finally pass from the scene, having published, in its time, 
the letters written from Europe by Mark Twain in the i86o's that 
were compiled in Innocents Abroad. Among its managing editors was 
Frank Soule, co-author of the Annals of San Francisco. 

The growth of rival journals, which by 1850 forced the Alta to 
become the first daily, continued throughout the decade with a luxuri- 
ance propagated by political factionalism and homesickness among the 
immigrant population. Not to be outdone, the Daily Journal of Com- 
merce was issuing daily editions within 24 hours after its elder rival 
began doing so. Before the end of 1850, daily editions of The Herald f 
the Public Balance, the Evening Picayune, the California Courier, and 
the California Illustrated Times had appeared. 

Despite the high mortality of the press of the Gold Rush era, 
Kemble in 1858 listed 132 periodicals as having appeared in San Fran- 
cisco since 1850. Only dailies to survive the decade, however, were the 
Alta and The Herald. 

That the majority of these organs were rather journals of opinion 
than newspapers is not surprising. Crime, gold strikes, and other sensa- 
tional matters were so much the subjects of common knowledge that the 
press had to search far and wide for news of interest to its readers. 
The huge influx of immigrants from Eastern communities compelled 
numerous San Francisco papers to employ correspondents on the Atlantic 
seaboard, who dispatched bulletins by the steamers that brought also 
large batches of Eastern newspapers. The Overland Stage, reducing 
communication between St. Louis and San Francisco to 21 days after 
1858, somewhat improved news-gathering facilities; and when a tele- 
graph line was strung in 1861, news of national significance was avail- 
able. The quality of printing, with the introduction of the Hoe 
cylindrical press in the 1850*5, likewise was improved; and by 1860 a 
grade of paper better than foolscap was obtainable. 

Editorials and classified advertising, however, continued to be the 
main features of weeklies and dailies alike. Though articles were 
rarely signed, the style of each editor was instantly recognizable to 
readers who, according to John P. Young's History of Journalism in 
San Francisco, "looked not so much for intelligence as to see who was 
being lambasted." This highly personal tone was employed also by 
editors of less slanderous journals, such as the columnist of the Golden 
Era who addressed his correspondents by their initials and gave fatherly 
advice. Perhaps this friendly policy had something to do with making 
the Golden Era the city's leading weekly for 30 years after its estab- 
lishment in 1854. 

In the San Francisco of the Gold Rush era, newspaper editors had 
to be printers, writers of verse, and hurlers of insults; they had to take 
sides in political controversies, during which their opponents might at 


any moment attack them in a fist fight or challenge them to a duel. 
Catherine Coffin Phillips, in her history of Portsmouth Square, states 
that above one editor's desk was hung this laconic placard: "Subscrip- 
tions Received From 9 to 4; Challenges From n to 12 only." 

Bitterness over the slavery issue was the cause of frequent brawls 
and armed encounters. Duels were of such common occurrence that 
newspapers mentioned them only in passing, unless they involved prom- 
inent persons. A. C. Russell, an editor on the staff of the Alta Cali- 
fornia, having escaped harm in a duel with pistols, was subsequently 
stabbed in an "affair of honor" fought with bowie knives. The Alta's 
managing editor, Edward Gilbert, was killed in 1852 by a henchman of 
Governor John Bigler, who defended his boss against an item intended 
to make him appear ridiculous. In that same year, the Alta's support 
of David Broderick, campaigning for election to the State Senate on an 
anti-slavery platform, caused the wounding of another of its editors by 
an editor of the pro-slavery Times and Transcript. An editor of The 
Herald, a daily fighting corruption in municipal politics, was shot in 
the leg by a city supervisor. James King of William (a distinction 
invented to avoid confusion with other James Kings), who founded the 
Evening Bulletin in 1855, did not survive his first encounter with a 
spokesman for the embattled politicians. His death, from a wound 
inflicted by the supervisor who was editor of the Sunday Times, was, 
however, the signal for mobilization of the Vigilance Committee of 
1856. The office of the Morning Herald, the Alias most potent rival, 
was stormed by a mob, who burned its editions in the streets for oppos- 
ing the committee's work. 

The close of the Civil War saw the establishment of the only two 
morning dailies that have survived since 1 865 : the San Francisco 
Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Dramatic Chronicle, 
edited by two brothers in their teens, was so well received after "scoop- 
ing" the news of Lincoln's death that Charles and M. H. de Young, in 
1868, were able to transform it into the daily Morning Chronicle. For 
the next 15 years, under the management of the belligerent Charles, the 
Chronicle entertained its readers with scandal and political onslaughts, 
while its editor defended himself in duels and libel suits. Following a 
bitter campaign against the Workingman's Party and its candidate for 
mayor in 1879, Charles de Young was killed; and for the next 45 years 
the Chronicle was under the direction of his younger brother. Through- 
out his long career, M. H. de Young, through his managing editor, 
John P. Young, made his paper a force for political conservatism and 
social order. Follower of an anti-slavery tradition, the Chronicle 
remained staunchly Republican, its viewpoint attracting to its staff such 
writers as Will and Wallace Irwin and Franklin K. Lane, who was 
Secretary of the Interior under President Wilson. Not until the 1930*5, 


however, did it suddenly recapture, under the management of young 
Paul Smith, the sophisticated quality of its earliest editions. 

Leading rival of the Chronicle for morning circulation, William 
Randolph Hearst's Examiner was founded on the ruins of the pro- 
slavery Democratic Press, which a mob, provoked by news of President 
Lincoln's assassination, had wrecked beyond repair. Despite popular 
indignation, the staff of the Democratic Press was carried over intact to 
the Daily Examiner. From its appearance on June 12, 1865, until a 
wealthy miner named George Hearst bought it in 1880, the Examiner 
defended the interests of Southern Democrats who remained entrenched 
in California politics. With its transfer to young William Randolph 
Hearst in 1887, however, began that sensational career which made the 
Examiner s owner a storm center of American journalism for 50 years. 

With bonanza millions at his disposal, and a genius for showman- 
ship, Hearst gathered together a staff that included some of the best 
newspaper talent that money could buy. S. S. (Sam) Chamberlain, 
protege of James Gordon Bennett and founder of the first American 
newspaper in Paris, became managing editor. The daring resourceful- 
ness of the Examiner s reporters delighted its readers and filled its 
rivals, especially the Chronicle, with alarm. Unheard-of was its print- 
ing of two full pages of cablegrams from Vienna, relating the mysterious 
death of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria and the Baroness Marie 
Vetsera. Examiner correspondents dispatched news from the ends of 
the earth. Announced with glaring headlines and illustrated with 
photographs, this dramatization of the news caught the imagination of 
the public. To the reporting of local news the Examiner brought 
innovations no less startling. One of its editorial writers, the cynical 
Arthur McEwen, once remarked that reporters risked their necks for 
the sake of a story to make the public exclaim: "Gee whiz!" 

Jack London was on the Examiner s brilliant staff in the closing 
decades of the last century. The modern comic strip was born as 
cartoonists James Swinnerton, Bud Fisher, Rube Goldberg, R. Dirks, 
and Homer Davenport labored side by side creating the "Katzenjammer 
Kids," "Little Jimmy," and "Mutt and Jeff" (created by Fisher from 
habitues of the old Tanforan Race Track). Ambrose Bierce's "Prattle" 
made him the most feared of the Examiner's columnists. One of his 
malevolent verses, predicting the assassination of President William 
McKinley, was interpreted afterwards as an incitation to the act. This 
gave the popularity of the Hearst papers a setback, but Hearst was 
already on the way toward establishing his powerful chain. Though 
the Examiner remains one of the leading newspapers on the Coast, it has 
long since dropped its original pro-labor policy. Vanished also from 
its offices is that droll atmosphere wherein Hearst himself "would 


sometimes preface his remarks to his editors by dancing a jig ..." 
And not since H. D. ("Petey") Bigelow wangled an interview out of 
three train robbers in a mountain hideout has the Examiner found a 
sensation to equal either that story or its author. 

Of the city's two surviving afternoon dailies, the Call-Bulletin has 
the longer history. Its ancestor, James King of William's militant 
Bulletin, fought corruption in politics and finance for half a century. 
It was saved from oblivion in 1859, three years after its first editor's 
untimely death, by a publisher from New Orleans, G. K. Fitch, who 
later sold half his interest to Loring Pickering. Soon afterwards, the 
partners acquired the Morning Call, a cooperative paper issued by a 
group of printers claiming to be "men without frills." Fitch became 
editor of the Bulletin; Pickering, of the Call. Though both papers were 
published under the same roof and ownership, their policies were de- 
liberately antithetical. At a time when violent taking of sides was 
evidence of red blood, Pickering's Call dared to be nonpartisan. Not 
less outrageous than its objective reporting was its society page, on 
which the doings of "the Colonel's lady and Mrs. O'Grady" were 
chronicled side by side. For 30 years Fitch kept the Bulletin alive with 
caustic editorials and reportage in the crusading spirit of its founder. 
He fought waste in municipal administration and gambling on the stock 
exchange, assailed big corporations, and attacked political corruption in 
both Democratic and Republican parties. 

When, in 1897, the Bulletin became the property of R. A. Crothers, 
it engaged as managing editor a hard-working journalist from Wis- 
consin, whose name was to be associated with San Francisco for the next 
two decades. Fremont Older had come West with an ambition to "be 
like Horace Greeley," and while he introduced in the Bulletin all the 
sensational tricks of "yellow journalism," he was genuinely motivated 
by hatred of injustice and ardor for decency in public affairs. Banner 
headlines, cartoons of politicians in striped uniforms, and editorials 
solidly documented and barbed with irony revealed the corruption of 
the Ruef-Schmitz machine. Triumph of the graft prosecutions made 
Older so popular that he was able to name the reform candidate who 
was elected mayor. The Bulletin 's subsequent aid to Hiram Johnson 
enabled him to break the railroad monopoly and win the gubernatorial 
race of 1910. Older's discovery of perjured evidence in the Thomas 
Mooney case, which led him to denounce the prosecution, failed to meet 
with such popular acclaim, however. Rather than agree to the milder 
policy advised by Crothers, Older resigned from the Bulletin in 1918. 
.Until its merger with the Bulletin in 1929, he was managing editor of 
the Call and Post and thereafter, until his death in 1935, of the com- 
bined Call-Bulletin, which became another link in the Hearst chain. 
The merger of the two papers brought an end to the Post, which since 


1871 had been first the mouthpiece of Henry George of Single Tax 
fame and then spokesman for the United Railways. 

The city's other afternoon daily, the San Francisco News, was 
founded, in the spring of 1903, as the i8th link in the Scripps-Howard 
chain. It adhered to Scripps' declared intention "to put into the homes 
of workers who had little time to read, honest, fearless thought im- 
partially incorruptible by social, political, or financial influences." Issued 
originally as the Daily News from a mouldy little office " South of the 
Slot," its penny editions were eagerly bought by workingmen. As late 
as 1919, a strike of railroad yardmen, though outlawed by union leaders, 
was headlined with the caption : "Starvation Pay is Cause of Strike Men 
Say." A boxed resume enlarged upon this theme. 

In 1923, the News (now under Roy Howard and the United Press) 
acquired a new managing editor, W. N. Burkhart, and in 1930 moved 
to its present plant on Mission Street. Its pro-labor policy became less 
uncompromising, and it "saw both sides" of the struggle over municipal 
ownership of public utilities. Thus it was able to cross the social 
equator of Market Street without losing its circulation in "the Mis- 
sion." Where the Bill of Rights is at stake, however, the News fore- 
goes the sweetness of compromise. In this, it manages to preserve that 
pioneer integrity which died hard in San Francisco, when, as elsewhere, 
in William Allen White's words, "the trade which became a profession 
turned into a business and there it is today." 

Around the IVorld in San Francisco 


Civic Center 

"Above all the dome, seen so often like that of St. Paul's but 
dimly through the fog" 


SAN FRANCISCO'S Civic Center constitutes a Beaux Arts 
monument to the city's cultural tradition, its achievements in 
democratic government, and its proud position among the com- 
mercial centers of the Nation. Dominated by the massive, symmetrical 
pile of the City Hall whose dome, surmounted by a gilded lantern, 
soars high above the city the wide plaza with its fountains, its trim 
shrubbery and acacias, its central concourse paved with red brick has 
been for the last quarter-century the focal point for all public demon- 
strations. The Civic Center has been the scene of welcome for so many 
celebrities and so many parades that henceforth as Charles Caldwell 
Dobie has suggested it is likely to become the most popular and his- 
toric of the city's landmarks. 

The present group of eight buildings, built of California granite in 
variations of the massive style of the French Renaissance, is an example 
of city planning to contradict the city's once-famous reputation for 
letting things run wild. One by one these substantial structures have 
risen on those blocks within the apex of that angle formed by the con- 
vergence of Market Street and Van Ness Avenue which was cleared of 
debris and ashes after 1906. The $8,000,000 bond issue voted in 1912 
laid the foundation for the project. As further funds become available 
and a need for new units arises, other structures will be added. Perhaps 
in time the dream of the Civic Center's original designer, D. H. Burn- 
ham, will be realized by the extension of its monumental plan to include 
the entire city. 

Municipal government in San Francisco was not always so well- 
housed or so well-ordered. For more than a half-century after 1776 
the seat of local government was a tiny dirt-floored two-room hut, home 
of the military comandante at the Presidio. Here in 1834 met the 
voters of the district of San Francisco to decide on eleven electors who 
later chose the first ayuntamiento (town council), consisting of an 
alcalde, two regidores, and a syndico. These officials entered upon their 
duties on January I, 1835. In 1839 the council was abolished. When 
the State came under American rule in 1846 Lieutenant Washington 
A. Bartlett of the United States Navy was appointed alcalde. Publicly 
charged in 1847 with misappropriating town funds (amounting to 



$750), he was acquitted but nevertheless was withdrawn to the Navy. 
At a meeting of the common council of six members elected a few 
months later which first convened in September 1847 tne alcalde 
was permitted to preside over, but not participate in, the discussion. 
The governmental situation was so confused that the editor of the 
California Star complained plaintively, "we have alcaldes all over . . . 
who claim jurisdiction over all matters for difference between citizens." 

There were to be many complaints, more vociferous, before the 
government of the growing town became orderly and predictable. At 
one time no less than three councils each claimed sole right to govern. 
In 1847 an ordinance provided that two constables should "strictly 
enforce the law" and "receive for the service of any unit or other 
process, one dollar, to be paid out of the fines imposed upon cases." 
In 1848 an ordinance was passed ordering the seizure of all money 
found on gambling tables, the money to go into the town coffers, but in 
that same year the lure of gold drained the town of so many inhabitants 
that at one time not a single officer with civil authority remained. Only 
158 people were on hand to cast votes at the election held in October 
to reestablish some kind of civic administration. Too impatient to wait 
for the reestablishment of State government, the people met at a public 
mass meeting in February 1849, organized the Legislative Assembly, and 
proceeded merrily to make their own laws. The Assembly met 35 times 
before it was dissolved on June 4 by decree of the military governor of 
the State, General Bennet Riley. At an election held on August I, 
1,516 votes were cast, all for John W. Geary for alcalde. Later that 
month the ayuntamiento purchased the first public building under the 
American regime the brig Euphemia, which it converted into a jail. 

Anticipating by more than four months California's admission to 
the Union, the city was incorporated April 15, 1850. Under the charter 
adopted by the already functioning State legislature, a mayor, recorder, 
and council of aldermen were elected on May I. The police depart- 
ment was enlarged but "not to exceed 75 men" and a fire department 
headed by a chief engineer was established. 

At its first meeting on May 9 the council members promptly rifled 
the treasury by voting to pay the mayor, recorder, marshal, and city 
attorney annual salaries of $10,000 and other officials including them- 
selves, $4,000 to $6,000. Later in the year, anticipating the celebration 
of the admission of the State into the Union, they each awarded them- 
selves a handsome gold medal to cost $150, the expense to be borne by 
the city. Unfortunately the medals were not completed in time for 
the celebration ; when they did arrive, the town fell into such an uproar 
that the councilmen prudently paid for the medals out of their own 
pockets and promptly melted them into "honest bullion." Despite this, 
sacrifice, the city was $1,000,000 in debt before the end of the year. 


The adoption of a new charter by the Legislature in 1851 did little 
to halt the extravagance of the officials or the depredations of the 
increasing criminal element. But the Consolidation Act passed by the 
State Legislature in the same year, which authorized merger of the 
City and County of San Francisco, creating a Board of Supervisors to 
replace the double board of aldermen provided for by the charter of 
1851, served to establish a more stable civic government. It was to be 
San Francisco's organic law for 44 years. When the heat of the 
vigilante movement had subsided, a reform movement headed by the 
People's Party gained power and held it long enough to put compara- 
tively capable men into office. 

When the old city hall burned down, the idea of transforming the 
Plaza into a reputable center of municipal government moved the 
council, in 1852, to purchase the Jenny Lind Theater, at Washington 
and Kearny Streets, for a new seat. So exorbitant was the $200,000 
paid for the theater, however, that a storm of public criticism broke out. 
But the building had to serve. In 1865 the Board of Supervisors 
refused to pay the city's gas bill. The company promptly removed its 
lanterns from the street posts and turned off the gas at the city hall. 
That evening the city fathers, each carrying a flickering candle, stum- 
bled upstairs to discuss the lighting situation. 

Finally, in 1870, construction was begun on a new city hall "away 
out on Larkin Street" at a site then known as Yerba Buena Park (now 
the site of the Public Library). Originally a tangle of chaparral, this 
tract had become in 1850 Yerba Buena Cemetery. Economy was the 
watchword. The city fathers planned construction on the installment 
basis, paying each installment out of an annual special tax levy. But 
the piecemeal method of construction boosted costs to more than $7,000,- 
OOO, far beyond original estimates, and delayed completion for many 
years. As the city grew it became apparent that the Consolidation Act 
no longer sufficed to serve its needs. Twice James Phelan, who headed 
the reform movement that swept him into the mayor's chair in 1897, 
attempted, with the aid of a Committee of One Hundred, to secure 
adoption of a new charter, but without success. But in 1900 the elec- 
torate accepted at last a freeholders' charter which loosened the State 
Legislature's grip on municipal affairs, outlined a definite policy of 
municipal ownership of public utilities, and substituted civil service for 
the spoils system in civic administration. 

But the new charter was not enough to protect the city government 
from the Ruef-Schmitz ring, into whose hands it fell in 1902. When 
the old city hall came tumbling down in less than 60 seconds at the 
first shock of the earthquake on April 18, 1906, municipal wrath gave 
impetus to the already gathering movement for cleaning house. In 
1908 a supervisors' committee solemnly reported that "so far the most 


rigid inspection of the standing and fallen walls . . . have (sic) failed 
to disclose any large voids or enclosed boxes, barrels or wheelbarrows 
that have been told in many an old tale as evidence of lax supervision 
and contractors' deceits." But many San Franciscans went on believing 
"many an old tale." And when they decided to build a new city hall, 
they were determined that its occupants should be more worthy of the 
public trust and more responsible for the public welfare. 

The urgency of rebuilding the ruined city defeated the city planning 
efforts of Daniel H. Burnham, whose vision of a system of great boule- 
vards encircling and radiating from the intersection of Market Street 
and Van Ness Avenue (and the extension of the Golden Gate Park 
panhandle) was not to be realized, but when the city began, in 1912, to 
plan for the Panama-Pacific Exposition, a part of the scheme was revived 
in modified form. A permanent staff of architects for the Civic Center 
(John Galen Howard, Frederick H. Meyer, and John Reid, Jr.) was 
appointed and a bond issue of $8,800,000 voted for purchase of land and 
construction of buildings. 

Under the municipal ownership provisions of the new charter, 
Mayor Phelan's dream of "a clean and beautiful City" began to be 
realized. San Francisco became the first large municipality in the 
Nation to establish a city-owned street railway system, which opened 
December 28, 1912. Under the supervision of veteran City Engi- 
neer Michael Maurice O'Shaughnessy, construction was begun at Hetch 
Hetchy of the great dam which bears his name and of the 1 68-mile 
aqueduct which brings Tuolumne River water to the city. The work 
continued over the next two decades until 1934. I n I 9 I 3 under 
O'Shaughnessy's direction, the first comprehensive system of boulevards 
was formulated. In 1927 the San Francisco Municipal Airport was 
opened. By 1940, the city-owned utilities system was valued at ap- 
proximately $167,000,000. 

Meanwhile the park system was increased to a total of 45 parks 
covering 3,170 acres (one-ninth of the city's area). Since the establish- 
ment in 1907 of a Playground Commission (since 1932 the Recreation 
Commission), municipal playgrounds have increased to a total of 45 
(exclusive of 28 school playgrounds), where during the fiscal year 
1937-38 nearly 4,500,000 persons participated in such activities as 
athletics, gardening, handicrafts, music, and dramatics. The San Fran- 
cisco Unified School District in the same fiscal year (its 87th) was 
operating 102 public schools, including ten junior high and eight high 
schools and a junior college, enrolling an average of 81,297 students. 
The library system was extended to a total of 22 branches serving 
130,000 persons. The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum and the 
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, a city-subsidized symphony 
orchestra and the only city-owned opera house in the Nation, San Fran- 


cisco Yacht Harbor, Aquatic Park, and the municipal Fleishhacker Zoo 
all added to San Francisco's attractions. And meanwhile, as San 
Francisco became a more healthful and attractive city, it also was 
becoming a safer one. Its decreasing crime rate between 1938 and 
1940 it was the only large city to register a decrease attested to the 
efficiency of its police department; a study of 86 cities made in 1935 
showed that San Francisco, although nth among American com- 
munities in population, stood 2Oth in number of robberies and 35th in 

Just as the city had outgrown the Consolidation Act of 1856, drawn 
up for a city of 40,000, so it outgrew the freeholders' charter of 1900, 
drawn up for a city of 325,000. Beginning as a comparatively short 
document, the old charter had grown by process of amendment to 304 
pages of articles, chapters, and subdivisions. In 1930 the voters elected 
a board of 15 freeholders to frame a new charter. Having studied the 
various forms of municipal government, the freeholders formulated a 
"strong mayor" plan which was adopted in March 1931 and put into 
operation in January 1932, under the administration of Angelo J. Rossi. 
Under the new charter the mayor writes Chief Administrative Officer 
Alfred J Cleary is made "a strong and responsible executive, with 
the power of appointment of the principal officials and members of 
boards." Officials whose duties are primarily governmental (policy- 
making) were continued in elective positions; those whose duties are 
primarily ministerial (carrying out policies), in appointive positions. 
To the Chief Administrative Officer was entrusted responsibility for 
supervision of departments headed by the latter and for long-range 
planning; to the Controller, responsibility for financial planning, man- 
agement, and control. Under the new charter's provisions, the city's 
business must be conducted on a cash basis and its budget balanced 
annually. An eleven-member Board of Supervisors was retained as the 
legislative branch of government and relieved of administrative duties. 


i. Dominating the Civic Center, the CITY HALL, Van Ness Ave., 
Polk, McAllister, and Grove Sts., lifts its gold-embellished dome 308 
feet above ground level 16 feet 2^ inches higher than the National 
Capitol in Washington, D. C., as Mayor James Rolph used to boast. 
It was Rolph who broke ground for the new structure with a silver 
spade April 5, 1913. Second unit of the Civic Center to be completed, 
the City Hall was dedicated December 28, 1915, having cost $3,500,- 
ooo. In the great rotunda under the dome, Rolph welcomed the world, 
receiving a long procession of celebrated visitors: the King and Queen 
of Belgium, Queen Marie of Rumania, Eamon de Valera, William 


Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson. Here San Francisco made merry 
all night long to celebrate the Armistice in 1918. Here the funeral of 
President Warren G. Harding took place in 1923, and here, in 1934, 
Rolph himself lay in state. 

Of gray California granite with blue and gold burnished ironwork, 
the building conforms to the French Renaissance style of the Louis XIV 
period, its east and west facades consisting each of a central pediment 
supported by Doric pillars and flanked on either side by Doric colon- 
nades. Rising four stories high and covering two city blocks, it was 


designed by architects John Bakewell, Jr. and Arthur Brown, Jr. as a 
hollow rectangle, 408 by 285 feet, enclosing a square centerpiece covered 
by the dome. 

On the Polk Street pediment, the symbolic statuary represents San 
Francisco standing between the riches of California and Commerce and 
Navigation; on the Van Ness Avenue pediment, Wisdom between the 
Arts, Learning, and Truth and Industry and Labor. The interior, 
with its marble tile flooring, is lavishly finished in California marble, 
Indiana sandstone, and Eastern oak. Grouped around the great central 
court are the offices of the Registrar, Tax Collector, and Assessor. From 
the center of the lobby a wide marble staircase leads to the second-floor 
gallery, off which are the Mayor's office and the chamber of the Board 
of Supervisors., Similar galleries overlook the court from the third and 
fourth floors. The vast dome, 112 feet in diameter, weighs approxi- 


mately 90,000 tons and will withstand a wind load of 30 pounds per 
square foot. 

On the fourth floor is the SAN FRANCISCO LAW LIBRARY (open. 
Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.- 1 0:45 p.m.,, Sun. 10:30-4:30), a free, city-supported, 
reference and circulating library of about 30,000 volumes. 

Near the Polk Street entrance is a bronze STATUE OF ABRAHAM 
LINCOLN (Haig Patigian, sculptor), seated in meditative pose, one hand 
resting on his knee. Facing the street named for him is a bronze 
STATUE OF HALL MCALLISTER (Earl Cummings, sculptor), a dis- 
tinguished pioneer attorney. 

2. The CIVIC CENTER PLAZA, Grove, Polk, McAllister, and 
Larkin Sts., with its broad red brick walks, its fountains playing in 
circular pools, its great flocks of pigeons, its flowerbeds and box hedges, 
is surrounded by a row of acacia trees and lined, along Larkin Street, 
by flagstaffs. 

3. Since the CIVIC AUDITORIUM, Grove St. between Polk 
and Larkin Sts., was presented to the city by the Panama-Pacific Inter- 
national Exposition, events as diverse as political rallies, automobile 
shows, balls, prize fights, operas, symphony concerts, bicycle races, and 
circuses have been held here. Memorable have been the "Town Meet- 
ings," where employers and union men met in amicable debate; the 
"dime" symphony concerts of the WPA Music Project; monster mass 
meetings demanding freedom for Tom Mooney; the National conven- 
tions of the Democratic Party in 1920 and of the American Federation 
of Labor in 1934; and Max Reinhardt's presentation of The Miracle, 
for which the main auditorium was converted into a gigantic cathedral. 
Designed by Arthur Brown, Jr., the structure is four stories high, with 
a facade of California granite ornamented in carved stone and a 
pyramidal tile roof topped by a great tile-covered octagonal dome. 
Besides the main auditorium, seating 10,000, and the two companion 
auditoriums Polk Hall and Larkin Hall, each seating 1,200 which 
flank it, it contains 21 smaller halls and twelve committee rooms. Over- 
hanging the vast arena, 187 by 200 feet, which can be enlarged to 
include the two companion halls or diminished by use of electrically 
operated curtains, is a spectacular canvas canopy painted to simulate sky 
and clouds, bordered by Gleb and Peter Ilyin's mural insets. From 
three sides great balconies overlook the go-foot stage. The four-manual 
console of the great organ controls the six distinct parts: great, swell, 
choir, solo, pedal, and echo organs. The largest pipe is 32 feet long 
and 20 inches in diameter. 

4. The city's public health supervision centers in the four-story 
HEALTH CENTER BUILDING (open weekdays 8-5), corner 
Grove and Polk Sts., erected in 1931-32. It houses various clinics, the 


Central Emergency Hospital, and offices of the Health Department of 
the Bureau of Inspection. 

5. Twin structures the OPERA HOUSE (open weekdays 10-4), 
NW. corner Van Ness Ave. and Grove St., and the Veterans' Building 
(see below) form the War Memorial of San Francisco, erected in 
1932 as a tribute to the city's war dead. The buildings are similar in 
external appearance, patterned in classic style to conform with other 
Civic Center structures. Against the rusticated terra cotta of their 
facades, rising from granite bases and steps and surmounted by mansard 
roofs, are placed free-standing granite columns. 

This, the Nation's only municipally-owned opera house (Arthur 
Brown, Jr., architect; G. Albert Lansburgh, associate), represented the 
achievement of years of struggle by San Francisco music lovers for an 
ise of theipewn. It was opened on October 15, 1932 with 
Lily PonsWnginjjXTojcj). The auditorium, seating 3,285 persons, is 
ratecL '1 he floor of the orchestra pit can be raised and 
lowered. The stage is 131 feet wide, 83 feet deep, and 120 feet from 
floor to roof. At the 3O-foot-long switchboard, all the lighting com- 
binations required for an entire performance can be set in advance and 
released in proper order by the throwing of a single switch. 

6. Beyond massive gilt-trimmed iron fences stretch the green lawns 
of MEMORIAL COURT, separating the Opera House and the 
Veterans' Building. Severely formal, it was designed by Thomas 
Church with planting in long flat masses to conform to its architectural 

7. The four-story VETERANS' BUILDING (open 8 a.m. to 
indefinite hour), SW. corner Van Ness Ave. and McAllister St., houses 
over ico veterans' organizations. From the vestibule on the main floor 
of the building (Arthur Brown, Jr., architect), a long, columned 
Trophy Gallery with cast stone walls, vaulted ceiling, and marble floor 
leads to the Souvenir Gallery. Here the coffered ceiling and stone 
walls give quiet sanctuary to a display of military medals and souvenirs. 
Over a granite cenotaph with a bronze urn containing earth from four 
American cemeteries in France, a light burns perpetually. In the 
auditorium, seating 1,106 persons, arched panels between the pilasters 
of the side walls contain eight murals by Frank Brangwyn depicting 
earth, air, fire, and water. The maple floor can be tilted to afford a 
clear view of the stage or levelled into a dance floor. On the second 
floor is the genealogical library of the Sons of the American Revolution. 
The corridors on both second and third floors are lined with meeting 
and lodge rooms. 

The 13 galleries of the SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF ART (open 
weekdays 12 m.-io p.m.; Sun. 7-5), on the fourth floor, are gained by 
elevator from the McAllister Street side. The permanent collection of 


painting and sculpture is predominantly the work of modern artists 
including Van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Hofer, Bracque, Roualt, and 
Picasso. The Diego Rivera collection, not on display at present (1940), 
is one of the most important in the United States. There are frequent 
loan exhibits of the work of contemporary artists. Here also are an art 
library and lecture room. The San Francisco Art Association opened 
the museum in 1935 with Dr. Grace McCann Morley as director. 

8. The STATE BUILDING ANNEX, 515 Van Ness Ave., a six- 
story building, houses offices of the California Nautical School; of 
several divisions of the Departments of Education and of Industrial 
Relations ; and of the Department of Professional and Vocational Stand- 
ards. Here also is the Hastings College of Law (University of Cali- 
fornia), founded and endowed in 1878 by Serrano Clinton Hastings, 
first Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. 

9. In two-story PIONEER HALL, 456 McAllister St. (open 
Mon.-Fri. 10-4; Sat. 10-12), occupied jointly since June, 1938 by the 
Society of California Pioneers and the California Historical Society, an 
exhibit of firearms, mining implements, and poker chips keeps alive 
memories of the days of '49. The Society of California Pioneers, 
founded in 1850, limits its membership to direct descendants of the early 
settlers. The California Historical Society, founded in 1852, publishes 
books, pamphlets, and a quarterly on Western history. The two organ- 
izations maintain libraries of some 40,000 volumes and own many 
manuscripts, documents, and historic prints and illustrations concerning 

10. The block-long, five-story granite STATE BUILDING, Mc- 
Allister, Polk, and Larkin Sts., in the Italian Renaissance style, was 
built in 1926 at a cost of $1,800,000. It houses offices of the Governor 
and Attorney General and other divisions of the State government. 

1 1 . A ragged senate of unemployed philosophers gathers daily along 
the "wailing wall' by the south entrance of the SAN FRANCISCO 
PUBLIC LIBRARY, Fulton, Larkin, and McAllister Sts. (open 
weekdays g a.m.-io p.m.; Sun. 1:30-$ p.m.). Around the corner, Leo 
Lentelli's imperturbable heroic-size statues symbolizing Art, Literature, 
Philosophy, Science, and Law, posed between Ionic columns, wear a 
calmer mien. Across the granite facade are carved the words: "May 
this structure, throned on imperishable books, be maintained and cher- 
ished from generation to generation for the improvement and delight of 
mankind." The 140,000 books on which the library was "throned" in 
1906, however, were unfortunately no more imperishable than was the 
old City Hall's McAllister Street wing, in whose wreckage they were 
destroyed. For the design of its new home, the architect, George W. 
Kelham, selected Italian Renaissance as "seeming best to represent the 
scholarly atmosphere which a library should attempt to convey." 


Ground was broken in March, 1915 and dedication ceremonies held 
February 15, 1917. Of the $1,152,000 expended on construction and 
equipment, $375,000 was contributed by Andrew Carnegie (he con- 
tributed a like amount for construction of branch library buildings). 

The board of trustees who organized the library in 1878 boasted 
among its n members Andrew S. Hallidie (inventor of the cable car) 
and at least one renowned writer Henry George, author of Progress 
and Poverty. With an appropriation of $24,000 from the Board of 
Supervisors, the trustees bought 6,000 books, installed them in a rented 
hall, and invited the public to come and read (but not to borrow) them. 
The library opened its doors June 7, 1879. During the third fiscal 
year, when books were first circulated, 10,500 persons held cards. The 
number had almost tripled by the eve of the library's destruction in the 
wreckage of the City Hall, where it had been installed in 1888. With 
about 25,000 volumes, returned from homes and branches after the 
disaster, it continued operations in temporary quarters. The library's 
collection had grown by 1940 to 520,000 volumes, the number of card 
holders to 140,000, and the annual circulation to more than 4,000,000. 
Besides the main library, the system includes 21 branch libraries and 5 
deposit stations. 

From the main entrance vestibule, where a bronze bust of Edward 
Robeson Taylor, who was both poet and mayor (1907-10), stands in 
an alcove, a corridor leads to the exhibit hall, juvenile rooms, and news- 
paper room along the south side of the building. A monumental stair- 
case rises to the high-ceilinged delivery room, on the second floor, finished 
like both the entrance vestibule and the staircase in soft beige- 
colored Roman travertine and an imitation travertine made locally. 
The main reading room, opening from it, extends along the south side, 
leading to the Max John Kuhl Memorial Room. Above the desk in 
the reading room is Pioneers Arriving in the West, one of two large 
murals by Frank Vincent Du Mond painted for the Panama-Pacific 
International Exposition. From the head of the staircase, colonnaded 
galleries on whose walls are Gottardo Piazzoni's murals of the Cali- 
fornia landscape, in low-keyed blues and browns lead to the reference 
room and art library along the west front. Both the reading and the 
reference rooms are finished with cork-tiled flooring, dark oak wood- 
work, and painted beam ceilings. On the east wall of the reference 
room is Du Mond's mural, Pioneers Leaving the East. On the third 
floor are the periodical room, music library, assembly room, patent room, 
secretary's office, and Phelan Memorial Room. Along the north side of 
the building are the stacks. 

The library's collection is notable chiefly in the fields of music, fine 
arts, costume; and world literature. The music library, containing 
7,400 volumes of music, 8,000 pieces of sheet music, and 5,000 pictures, 


is one of the largest in the United States. In the Max John Kuhl 
Memorial Collection of examples of fine printing and bookbinding are 
books from the presses of such San Francisco typographical artists as 
Helen Gentry, John Henry Nash, and Edwin Grabhorn. The collec- 
tion includes a Kelmscott Chaucer, an Asbendene Spenser, and a Dove's 
Press English Bible. The collection of Californiana, housed in a room 
made possible by James D. Phelan, who willed $10,000 for establish- 
ment of the Phelan Memorial Room, contains manuscripts, autographs, 
and first editions of California authors including Bret Harte, Mark 
Twain, Joaquin Miller, Ina Coolbrith, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, 
George Sterling, and Gertrude Atherton. 

On condition that they never be removed from San Francisco, the 
heirs of Adolph Sutro San Francisco mining engineer, philanthropist, 
and one-time mayor presented in 1913 to the State from his private 
library 70,000 volumes which escaped the fire of 1906. This collection, 
desk and catalogue N. end of reference room) is open to qualified 
scholars. It includes 45 of the 3,000 incunabula in the original collec- 
tion, among which are the letters of St. Jerome printed by Peter 
Schoefrer in 1470. In the collection of many thousand Spanish and 
Mexican books are a compilation of Mexican laws published in 1548 
and 42 volumes bearing American imprints of the seventeenth century. 
There are copies of the first, second, third, and fourth folios of Shake- 
speare and first and second folios of Ben Jonson. The religious works 
include the prayer books of James I and Charles II and a Bible used 
by Father Junipero Serra. Well-known to Hebrew scholars is the 
collection of Hebrew manuscripts obtained in Jerusalem, at least one 
of which a 9O-foot scroll, probably of sheepskin is attributed to 
Maimonides. The library also owns a notable collection of pamphlets 
on biographical, political, and religious subjects Latin, German, Mexi- 
can, Spanish, and English of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nine- 
teenth centuries, including the thousands of English pamphlets, docu- 
ments, and parliamentary journals collected by Lord Macaulay in writing 
his history of England. 

12. Women air their babies and exercise their dogs, schoolboys play 
football, and down-and-outers snatch a bit of sun and sleep on MAR- 
SHALL SQUARE, Grove, Larkin, Hyde, and Fulton Sts., named for 
James W. Marshall, discoverer of gold in California. The last of the 
coffins was removed from the sandy graves of the old cemetery here in 
1870. During the following decade the "sand lots" were the meeting 
place for gatherings addressed by fakirs, phrenologists, and socialists. 
Unemployed workmen applauded the harangues of an Irish drayman 
with shouts of "The Chinese must go Dennis Kearney tells us so!" 


Sixty years later, in the depression of the 1 930*3, the unemployed met 
here again in great mass meetings. 

13. The PIONEER MONUMENT, Grove, Hyde, and Market 
Sts., keeps alive the memory of James Lick, who came to San Francisco 
in 1847 an d died a multimillionaire in 1876. He left the city a bequest 
of $3,000,000, of which his will earmarked $100,000 for "statuary 
emblematic of the significant epochs in the history of California . . ." 
The Pioneer Monument (Frank Happersberger, sculptor), whose cor- 
nerstone was laid September 10, 1894, is a great central pediment 
upholding a bronze figure symbolizing California, with her spear and 
shield and bear, from whose base project four piers, each supporting 
subsidiary statuary: Early Days, Plenty, In '4.9, and Commerce. The 
central pedestal is ornamented with four bronze bas-reliefs depicting 
immigrants scaling the Sierra, traders bargaining with the Indians, cow- 
boys lassoing a steer, and California under the rule of the Mexicans 
and the Americans and with five relief portraits of James Lick, John 
Charles Fremont, Francis Drake, Junipero Serra, and Johann August 

14. The grayish- white granite walls of the massive five-story, block- 
square FEDERAL BUILDING, Hyde, Fulton, McAllister, and Leaven- 
worth Sts. (open 8-$ Mon.-Fri.; 8-1 Sat.), newest of the Civic Center 
group, was completed in 1936 at a cost of $3,000,000 (Arthur Brown, 
Jr., architect). Its 422 rooms house approximately 1,275 employees of 
33 divisions of the Federal government. 

15. Situated just outside the orbit of the Civic Center, the weathered 
OFFICE BUILDING (open 6 a.m.-i2 p.m.), NE. corner Seventh and 
Mission Sts., glittered in new white granite grandeur late in 1905. 
The building on its foundation of piling withstood the earthquake and 
fire of the following year, but the sidewalk and street built over the 
bed of a former stream sank several feet, and the building now obvi- 
ously stands higher than the original sidewalk level. Having withstood 
the flames, it was easily refurbished. The building, designed in Italian 
Renaissance style by James Knox Taylor, cost $2,500,000, to which 
$450,000 was added for improvements after 1906. (In 1933 a $750,000 
annex was added.) After Congress had appropriated the original funds, 
the price of steel dropped sharply below original estimates and in the 
absence of any law providing for its return to the Treasury, the surplus 
was spent in lavish interior decorations. Not only were Carrara, 
Pavonezza, Sienna, and Numidian marble imported but skilled Italian 
artisans were imported with them to install the verd antique trimmings 
of the corridors, the elaborate mosaics of the columns and vaulted 
ceilings. The' court chambers were panelled in California curly red- 
wood, Mexican Prima Vera mahogany, antique oak, and East Indian 


mahogany, and immense ornate fireplaces (which never have been used) 
were installed. 

San Francisco's central post office, with its financial and executive 
offices, occupies the first floor. On the second floor are the offices of 
the Railway and Air Mail Services; district chief clerks of the third 
and fourth post office districts and superintendent of the eighth divi- 
sion; and Post Office Inspector in Charge, whose department includes 
Arizona, California, and Nevada; Hawaii, Guam, and Samoa. 

The United States Circuit Court of Appeals, on the third floor, 
has the widest territorial jurisdiction of any circuit court in the Nation, 
hearing cases from Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and 
Washington, from Alaska and Hawaii, and from the United State extra- 
territorial court in Shanghai. Here also are the chambers of the United 
States District Courts and the offices of divisions of the Department of 
Justice, of the Mineral Production and Economics Division of the 
Bureau of Mines, and of the Naturalization Service. 

A far cry from these splendid marble corridors was the city's first 
post office, the frame building housing C. L. Ross and Company's New 
York Store at Washington and Montgomery Streets, where in April, 
1849 postmaster John White Geary removed a pane of glass from the 
front window and began dealing out the 5,000 letters he had brought 
with him on the Oregon. Following the arrival of the fortnightly mail 
steamer from Panama, wrote the British traveler, J. D. Borthwick, in 
1851, "a dense crowd of people collected, almost blocking up the two 
streets which gave access to the post-office. . . . Smoking and chewing 
tobacco were great aids in passing the time, and many came provided 
with books and newspapers. ... A man's place in the line . . . like 
any other piece of property . . . was bought and sold . . . Ten or fifteen 
dollars were frequently paid for a good position . . . There was one 
window devoted exclusively to the use of foreigners . . . and here a 
polyglot individual . . . answered the demands of all European nations, 
and held communication with Chinamen, Sandwich Islanders, and all 
the stray specimens of humanity from unknown parts of the earth." 

"Steamer Day," the beginning and middle of each month, which 
brought not only the mail but also the Eastern papers only source of 
news of the outside world became a San Francisco institution. For 
a week the population prepared its letters and its gold dust of which 
millions of dollars' worth were shipped East for the fortnightly out- 
going steamer. Even after 1858, when the Overland Stage Line to St. 
Louis began carrying eight mails each month and the Pony Express to 
St. Joseph two a week, the custom continued, and business men paid 
their accounts on Steamer Day. Not until the i88o's did the cus- 
tom end. 

Metropolitan Scene 

"There are just three big cities In the United States that are 
'story cities' New York, of course, New Orleans, and best of the 
lot San Francisco." 


TIMES SQUARE and Picadilly Circus recall the metropolitan 
grandeur of New York and London. Although San Francisco 
has no single spectacular landmark by which the world may 
identify it, the greatest cities have long since welcomed it into their 
company. Portsmouth Square, the Palace Hotel, and the Ferry Build- 
ing, which served successively as symbols of civic vanity, no longer 
resound with much more public clamor than many another plaza, hos- 
telry, or terminal. Only Market Street accents for the casual observer 
San Francisco's metropolitan character. 

Southwestward from the Ferry Building to Twin Peaks Tunnel, 
Market Street's wide, unswerving diagonal bisects the city. To Market 
Street, as to Rome, lead all downtown streets, converging from north, 
southeast, and west at wedge-shaped intersections where traffic tangles 
bewilderingly. Northward, where slopes rise steeply to hilltops, are 
shops, clubs, theaters, office buildings, luxury hotels, and apartment 
houses the center of San Francisco's commercial activities and vortex 
of its social whirl. Southward in what is still "South of the Slot" 
to old-timers abruptly begin the row upon row of pawn shops, fly- 
specked restaurants, and shabby lodginghouses that stretch over level 
ground to the warehouses, factories, and railroad yards along the Bay's 

Jasper O'Farrell's survey, a century ago, laid the foundation for 
Market Street's development. Long before the forty-niners paved it 
with planks, the tallow and hides of Peninsula ranches rolled down its 
rutted trail in Mexican oxcarts to Yerba Buena Cove. Hundred-wr 
lots along the street's southern side were considered ideal business loca- 
tions ; and the width of the thoroughfare determined its future. Steam- 
cars, in the iSyo's and i88o's, brought along it passengers to be de- 
posited in frock coats and crinolines before the Palace Hotel. Before 
the disaster of 1906, cable cars went careening up the street, like 
diminutive galleons riding on waves of basalt pavement whose sand 
foundation sank unevenly beneath the traffic. 

A hundred and twenty feet wide, Market Street epitomizes Western 
spaciousness. At its upper end soar the crests of Twin Peaks, green 



with grass in spring. Flooded with sunlight on clear days, it contrasts 
sharply with the dingy canyons of neighboring streets devised for shop- 
ping and finance. After dark, gleaming with neon fluorescence of 
lighted signboards, it is a broad white way. Thanks to the fire of 
1906, which piled the thoroughfare high with debris of baroque mon- 
strosities, its contours are obstructed by few grotesque domes and 
fantastic facades, once the pride of the bonanza generation. With its 
streamlined array of neon signs, movie-theater marquees, neat awnings, 
and gleaming windowglass, Market Street's predominant tone is one 
of settled progress housed in masonry and concrete. 

To millions of visitors who have ventured through the portals of the 
Ferry Building at its southern end to set foot for the first time in the 
city of St. Francis, Market Street must have seemed a little frightening. 
After a calm leisurely ferryboat voyage from the main railroad ter- 
minals across the Bay, the visitor plunged into what was obviously a 
traffic engineer's nightmare. A huge three-track trolley loop encircling 
a forlorn plot of bush and grass routes a succession of clanging electric 
juggernauts past the Ferry Building and back up Market Street. Un- 
fortunately for streetcar riders, Market Street is wide enough to accom- 
modate four tracks a pair for each of the city's two systems. Boarding 
cars which ride the inner pair calls for a dauntlessness peculiar to San 
Francisco pedestrians. When two cars come thundering abreast down 
the tracks, the cautious commuter waits for both to stop, then darts 
around the back of the outside car to board the inside one; but hardier 
souls take a firm stand in the narrow gap between tracks, breathing in 
as two cars roar by on either side. Market Street at five o'clock on a 
workday afternoon is a deafening concourse of streetcars plunging 
through swirling eddies of pedestrians, passengers bulging from doors 
and agile youths swarming over rear fenders. 

Along both its upper and lower reaches, Market Street has little of 
that dynamic tempo which marks its middle stretch. The first few 
blocks southwest of the Ferry Building pass between low buildings 
railroad and steamship offices, nautical supply stores, transient hotels 
before skyscrapers begin flinging lofty heads heavenward. Beyond the 
reach of shoppers, this section is never crowded; late at night, it is 
gloomy and deserted except for an occasional streetcar, a lone roisterer, 
or a solitary patrolman. Where it skirts the Civic Center on its south- 
westward route, the solid phalanx of office buildings, theaters and stores 
begins to show gaps, thinning into strings of paint stores, second-hand 
book shops, and parking lots, until the black mouth of Twin Peaks 
Tunnel swallows the streetcar tracks. That Market Street along whose 
broad sidewalks moves the informal pageant of San Franciscans on 
parade comprises nine blocks between Hyde Street on the west and 
Montgomery Street on the east. 


The windswept corner at Powell and Market begins a gay, devil- 
may-care street that has for better than half a century fascinated and 
delighted both native and visitor. Unlike the tiny slow cable cars that 
clang up and down the Powell Street hill to be reversed on' the turn- 
table at Market Street, life always has run fast and a little loose along 
this narrow urban canyon. On the east corner of Powell and Market 
stood the Baldwin Theater, housed within a hideously ornate hotel 
of the period. Around the corner on Eddy Street was the Tivoli 
Theater, where patrons sat at tables and ate and sipped refreshments 
while watching the performance. Although the fire of 1906 razed 
the entire area, Powell Street and environs maintained their reputation 
by immediately rebuilding. The district became known as the "Up- 
town Tenderloin." Until the Eighteenth Amendment relegated pleas- 
ure spots to back rooms, it was replete with lively restaurants, saloons, 
and cabarets whose names make older residents yearn for the "good 
old days." Techau Tavern stood on the site of the present bank at the 
southwest corner of Powell and Eddy; the Portola Louvre, across the 
street. Around the corner at 35 Ellis Street was the Heidleberg Inn, 
and at 168 O'Farrell Street, the famous old Tait-Zinkand cabaret, 
across from the Orpheum Theater where vaudeville was born. Fabu- 
lous Tessie Wall kept her red plush and gilt bagnio on the southwest 
corner of Powell and O'Farrell Streets Tessie Wall, who reigned 
before Prohibition as "Queen of the Tenderloin," whose answer to her 
husband, gambler Frank Daroux, when he asked her to move to a 
suburban home in San Mateo is still quoted: "San Mateo! Why I'd 
rather be an electric light pole on Powell Street than own all of the 
county." Mason Street, one block west of Powell, was the "White 
Way," sparkling with the lights of Kelly's place, Jimmy Stacks' cabaret, 
the later Poodle Dog, and Billy Lyons' saloon, "the Bucket of Blood." 

Powell Street, now relieved of suggested rowdiness by smart hotels, 
shops, and bars, has outlived its past. The hilarious uptown tenderloin 
which rivalled the Barbary Coast has receded to streets immediately 
west. This newer, downtown tenderloin is a district of subdued gaiety 
that awakens at nightfall a region of apartment houses and hotels, 
corner groceries and restaurants, small night clubs and bars, gambling 
lofts, bookmakers' hideouts, and other fleshpots of the unparticular. 
Techau's, the dine-and-dance place renowned for "an appearance of 
Saturnalia," is today the name of an ultra-modern cocktail bar at 
another Powell Street address. The old Portola-Louvre at Powell 
and Market described as "that which takes the rest out of restaurant 
and puts the din in dinner" is now a quiet cafeteria more modestly 
named. Whatever remains of the great tradition of such theaters as 
the Baldwin is .preserved at the city's only two legitimate houses, on 
Geary Street west of Powell. 


Between Geary and Post Streets, where Powell Street begins its 
climb up Nob Hill that climb which leads it up, up, and up to where 
stood gaudy mansions of the bonanza "nabobs" the solemn gray-green 
stone facade of the St. Francis Hotel faces eastward over the sloping 
green turf and venerable palms of Union Square. Here the benches 
are packed the day long with successful men and failures feeding pan- 
handling pigeons or humming together at one of the semi-weekly WPA 
Music Project's noonday concerts. Clerks and nurses, salesmen and 
stenographers, eat their lunches on the grass. Chinese boys scurry along 
the paths, shouldering bootblack kits, alert for dusty shoes. Along the 
wrought-iron picket fence on the south side, drivers of long limousines 
lounge in their cars, waiting for sightseeing customers. 

Union Square is the heart of that area of shops and hotels which 
represents to an international clientele and to San Franciscans the city's 
traditional demand for quality. Here department stores have for so 
many decades been custodians of public taste their founders being 
patrons of the arts and bon vivants that their very buildings are con- 
sidered public institutions. Along Grant Avenue, Geary, Stockton, 
Post, and O'Farrell Streets, the gleaming windows of perfume and 
jewelry shops, travel bureaus, art goods and book stores, apparel and 
furniture shops entice throngs of shoppers. Near these stores flower- 
vendors have the sidewalk stands so dear to San Franciscans. Along 
Sutter Street are offered rugs from India and Afghanistan, books, art 
objects from Europe and the Orient, household fixtures and antiques. 
Here San Franciscans pay gas bills and see dentists, and here are the 
commercial art galleries. 

Kearny Street is the shopping district's eastern boundary. At its 
wide, windy intersection with Market Street the new San Francisco 
meets the old. Glowering down upon Lotta's Fountain stands the un- 
gainly red-brick De Young Building (San Francisco's first "sky- 
scraper"), and facing it across the intersection is the modernized tower 
of the old Spreckels Building. "Cape Horn" the city's rounders dubbed 
this breezy crossing, back in the era of free lunches and beer for the 
common run and champagne for the elite. Here lounged young wastrels 
whose delight it was to observe the skirts of passing damsels wafted 
knee-high by sudden gusts. 

"All bluffs are called on Kearny Street," wrote Gelett Burgess. 
Running north from Market Street to the Barbary Coast, it was an 
avenue of honky-tonks and saloons frequented by racetrack tipsters and 
other shady professionals. On election nights it was the scene of torch- 
light parades and brass bands. Of early theaters, the Bush, the Stand- 
ard, and the California were situated near Bush and Kearny Streets. 
Among the restaurants that gave San Francisco a name were the Maison 
Doree on Kearny between Bush and Sutter Streets, the Maison Rich, 


a block west at Grant Avenue and Geary Streets, the Poodle Dog at 
Grant Avenue and Bush Street, and Tortoni's, two blocks west at 
O'Farrell and Stockton Streets. All served French dinners that were 
gastronomical delights to a city that always has known how to eat. 
Another famous restaurant was Marchand's, at Grant Avenue and a 
little two-block alley called Maiden Lane. Now chaste and obscure, 
Maiden Lane has been renamed a half-dozen times, but the original 
name sticks, inducing a wry smile from old-timers who remember when 
its "maidens" were ladies of little or no virtue. 

The inglorious past is slipping fast from Kearny Street. Stream- 
lined clothing establishments for men, smart shops, and cocktail bars 
are marching northward against the tawdry remains of an era of archi- 
tectural horror and moral obliquity. Its awakening comes late but it 
comes with a vengeance. A few blocks northward its businesses and 
buildings decline in class and size to pawnshops, bailbond offices, and 
the hangouts of dapper, black-haired Filipinos. 

Not even the most farseeing mind could have imagined, in San 
Francisco's toddling days, the narrow canyon between skyscrapers that 
is present-day Montgomery Street. Being then the water front, it was 
the city's doorstep to the world. The doorstep was gradually moved 
eastward as filled-in land pushed back the Bay waters, but San Fran- 
cisco went on doing business in the original location. Into Mont- 
gomery and later Kearny Street, one block west were compressed 
most of what the city possessed banks, customhouse, post office, busi- 
ness houses, newspaper offices, dance and gambling halls, theaters, livery 
stables, saloons, and restaurants. The streets were ungraded. Kearny 
was paved with sticks and stones, bits of tin, and old hatch coverings 
from ships that had tramped the world. The going was difficult, if not 
downright dangerous, for both pedestrian and rider. In 1849 the site 
of the Palace Hotel's present magnificence, across from the southern end 
of Montgomery Street, was Happy Valley host to a tent settlement 
of poor immigrants. Market Street was a dream in the brain of young 
Jasper O'Farrell, who was to engineer San Francisco's street design. 

Montgomery Street has thrown off its old boisterous and willful 
ways. Neat and austere between sheer walls of stone, glass, and terra 
cotta, it is visible evidence of San Francisco's financial hegemony over 
the far West. But the past that dies hard in San Francisco still lingers 
on. Old-fashioned and with clanging bell, the cable cars go lurching 
through the cross streets that intersect Montgomery, past insurance 
companies and foreign consulates. All day the street's great office struc- 
tures are beehives, humming with business; its sidewalks are populated 
with businessmen carrying briefcases, and lined with parked shiny auto- 
mobiles. But at dark, when the skyscrapers are deserted but for their 
watchmen and scrubwomen, the deep canyons are black and silent, and 


the clank of cables, pulling their freight uphill toward the lighted hotels 
and apartment houses atop Nob Hill, echoes in the stillness. 


1 6. Looming over the Civic Center and uptown San Francisco, the 
soaring shaft of the 28-story HOTEL EMPIRE, NW. corner Leaven- 
worth and McAllister Sts., embodies the spirit of a new era rising from 
the old, like the Phoenix of the municipal seal. Built through the united 
efforts of the city's Methodist churches, it was opened in the late I92o's 
as the William Taylor Church and Hotel, named for the noted street 
preacher of the 1850*5, since it housed a built-in Methodist Church. 

17. Founded a decade after '49 by John Sullivan, the HIBERNIA 
SAVINGS AND LOAN SOCIETY (open 10-3), NW. corner Mc- 
Allister and Jones Sts., has survived eight decades of prosperity and 
panic to become one of San Francisco's oldest banks. Its classic, one- 
story building (Albert Pissis, architect) whose granite facades were 
gleaming white when finished in 1892 but have been weathered to a 
dull gray survived even the fire of 1906. It is topped by a gilded 
dome surmounting the Corinthian colonnade which rises at the head 
of the curved granite steps of the corner entrance. Inside, marble 
pilasters spring from a floor inlaid with mosaic to represent a mariner's 
compass card. 

1 8. The bronze angel atop the NATIVE SONS MONUMENT, 
Market, Turk, and Mason Sts., holds aloft a book inscribed with the 
date of California's admission to the Union: September 9, 1850. Beside 
the granite shaft a youthful miner shouldering a pick, armed with the 
holstered six-shooter of his day, waves an American flag. Gift of James 
D. Phelan, the monument (Douglas Tilden, sculptor) was unveiled on 
Admission Day, 1897. 

19. The austere UNITED STATES BRANCH MINT (not 
open), NW. corner Fifth and Mission Sts., now houses temporary 
offices of various departments of the Federal government. Its basement 
walls of Rocklin granite and upper facades of mottled British Columbia 
bluestone, its pyramidal flight of granite steps climbing to a portico 
of Doric columns are blackened with grime. Built in 1870-73 to sup- 
plant the first branch mint, established in 1854 on Commercial Street, 
the $2,000,000 structure (A. B. Mullett, architect) was itself sup- 
planted in 1937 by a still newer mint. In 1906, while flames gnawed 
at its barred and iron-shuttered windows, mint employees aided by 
soldiers fought a seven-hour battle with a one-inch fire hose and saved 
$200,000,000 from destruction. One-third of the Nation's entire gold 
reserve was housed here in 1934. 

20. "Industrial Gothic" is the three-story CHRONICLE BUILD- 


ING (visitors shown through plant by appointment}, SW. corner Fifth 
and Mission Sts., with tall arched windows and high corner clock 
tower. A morning paper with a circulation of approximately 110,000, 
the Chronicle issues five regular editions daily, the first appearing on 
the streets at about half past seven o'clock in the evening. 

21. On the highest assessed piece of land in the city is San Fran- 
cisco's largest department store, THE EMPORIUM (open 9:45- 
5'>2$)) 835 Market St. The massive, gray sandstone facade, its three 
arched entrances opening onto a quarter-block-long arcade, is orna- 
mented with columns in half-relief rising from the fourth-story level to 
the balustrade at the roof edge. Inside, an immense glass-domed ro- 
tunda, no feet in diameter and no feet high, ringed by a pillared 
gallery, rises through four stories to the roof garden. Its present build- 
ing, replacing one built in 1896 and destroyed by the 1906 fire, stands 
on the site of St. Ignatius College, now the University of San Fran- 

22. Traffic waits goodnaturedly at the CABLE CAR TURN- 
TABLE, Market, Powell, and Eddy Sts., where a careening southbound 
car comes to a halt every few minutes, while conductor and grip man 
dismount and push the car around until it faces north. 

23. Traces of discoloration in the sandstone near the entrances of 
the FLOOD BUILDING, NE. corner Market and Powell Sts., recall 
the earthquake and fire of 1906, which broke windows and blackened 
the walls of the structure a year after its completion. Named for 
bonanza king James C. Flood, the building stands on the site of the 
Baldwin Hotel and Theater, built by his contemporary, E. J. 
("Lucky") Baldwin in 1876-77 and destroyed by fire in 1898. Of 
gray sandstone, the 12-story structure is wedge-shaped to fit the site, 
its two facades converging in a rounded corner ornamented with col- 
umns in half-relief. 

24. Head office of the Nation's fourth largest bank is the BANK 
OF AMERICA (open Mon.-Fri. 10-3, Sat. 10-12), NW. corner 
Market and Powell Sts., whose resources topped $1,500,000,000 at the 
end of 1939. "Statewide organization, Worldwide scope" is the motto 
carved beneath Giovanni Portanova's bas-relief, personifying the bank 
as a female figure enthroned between a Mercury (commerce) and a 
Ceres (agriculture), above the corner entrance. The seven-story struc- 
ture, faced with white granite and decorated with Corinthian pilasters, 
was erected in 1920. 

25. A grassy haven in the midst of the downtown bustle, UNION 
SQUARE, Powell, Geary, Post, and Stockton Sts., spreads 2.6 acres 
of green lawns around the 97-foot-high granite shaft of the NAVAL 
MONUMENT (Robert Ingersoll Aitken, sculptor), whose bronze female 
Victory, armed with wreath and trident, commemorates "the Victory 



of the American Navy under Commodore George Dewey at Manila 
Bay, May First, MDCCCXCVIII." President William McKinley broke 
ground for the monument in 1901 and President Theodore Roosevelt 
dedicated it in 1903. Union Square was presented to the city in 1850 
by Mayor John White Geary. Mass meetings held here on the eve of 
the Civil War by Northerners demonstrating their loyalty to the Union 
gave the square its name. 

26. The ST. FRANCIS HOTEL, Powell, Geary, and Post Sts., 
is the 14-story, block-long, steel-and-concrete successor to the hotel 
opened here in 1904 and razed in 1906. The building (Bliss and 
Faville, architects), is an adaption of the Italian Renaissance style to 
the modern skyscraper. Its main facade, weathered a somber gray, 
has three wings, the central one flanked above the second story by deep 
open courts separating it from the others. The spacious lobby with 
vaulted ceiling and Corinthian columns is one of the city's most popular 
meeting places. Near the entrance to the Mural Room, under the 
great Austrian clock which controls 50 smaller clocks throughout the 
building, under-graduates from Stanford and the University of Cali- 
fornia who sometimes refer to the hotel as "The Frantic" have kept 
appointments for three decades. In the Mural Room (named for 
Albert Herter's seven murals, The Gifts of the Old World to the New} , 
whose black columns, mirrored walls, and blue and gold ceiling provide 
a pleasant setting, socialites have met for two decades to dine, dance, 
and attend Monday luncheons and fashion reviews. Occupying an 
entire wall of the largest of the hotel's banquet and meeting rooms, the 
Colonial Ballroom, is Albert Herter's mural portraying American Colo- 
nial life. 

On the second floor are the headquarters and library of the COM- 
MONWEALTH CLUB (open to members and certified students Mon.-Fri. 
9-5, Sat. 8:30-12), founded in 1903 by Edward F. Adams of the 
Chronicle. The club's motto is "Get the Facts" and it maintains a 
permanent fund of $270,000 for research in subjects of public interest. 
More than 1,500 distinguished visitors have addressed the club during 
its career. 

27. The modern 1 7-story white-brick and stone CLIFT HOTEL, 
495 Geary St., was opened in 1915 by attorney Frederick Clift. Three 
new stories and an additional wing were added in 1926. Lobbies and 
public rooms are combined Spanish and Italian Renaissance with high 
beamed ceilings. The Redwood Room is panelled with highly bur- 
nished 2,ooo-year-old California redwood and its 3O-foot bar is made 
entirely of redwood burl. 

28. "Weaving spiders come not here" admonishes an inscription 
over the Taylor Street entrance of the five-story red brick Italian Renais- 
sance home of 'the BOHEMIAN CLUB (private), NE. corner Post 


and Taylor Sts., erected in 1934. Across J. J. Mora's bronze bas-relief 
on the Post Street facade troop a procession of Bret Harte's characters. 
The club grew in 1872 from informal Sunday breakfasts at the home 
of James Bowman, editorial writer on the Chronicle. Artist friends 
sketched so freely on Mrs. Bowman's tablecloths her husband decided 
that San Francisco intellectuals needed an official club. 

For the first few years, quarters were shared with another club, 
The Jolly Corks. The atmosphere was casual, the furnishings meager. 
Members who complained of the lack of tables and chairs were reminded 
that "when a man gets tired of holding his drink all he has to do is to 
swallow it." The club's monthly "High Jinks" their name derived 
supposedly from Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering were debates 
followed by suppers. The more or less serious "High Jinks" (later 
burlesqued by "Low Jinks") were sometimes exciting occasions. The 
story persists that one speaker opened his manuscript to show a wicked- 
looking revolver, which he placed on the table in front of him, saying: 
"This is to shoot the first Bohemian galoot who stirs from his seat 
before I end this paper." In 1877 the Bohemians moved into quarters 
of their own on Pine Street. Among the honorary members elected to 
the club have been Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and Oliver Wendell 

The Bohemian Club now has a world-wide membership of about 
2,000 and a waiting list of hundreds. Once a year they come together 
for a midsummer frolic in the club's Bohemian Grove, where an origi- 
nal play has been produced since 1880, when the first Midsummer Jinks 
an open-air picnic accompanied by speeches and celebrations was 

29. The winged "O" of the OLYMPIC CLUB (private), 524 
Post St., oldest amateur athletic organization in the United States, has 
been worn by many star athletes, including "Gentleman Jim" Corbett, 
the San Francisco bank clerk who became world's heavyweight cham- 
pion after practice as the club's boxing instructor, and Sid Cavill, one 
of a famous family of Australian swimmers, who introduced the Aus- 
tralian crawl to America as the club's swimming instructor. Nucleus 
of the Olympic Club, formed May 6, 1860, was the group which 
Charles and Arthur Nahl invited to use the gymnastic apparatus they 
had assembled in their Taylor Street backyard. The organization now 
has 5,000 members. The five-story brick clubhouse is equipped with a 
gymnasium, a solarium, squash and handball courts, an indoor track, 
a billiard room, a marble plunge piped with ocean water, dining halls, a 
library, and a lounge. 

30. The Corinthian - pillared FIRST CONGREGATIONAL 
METHODIST TEMPLE, SE. corner Mason and Post Sts., was 
founded in 1849 in the schoolhouse on the Plaza, led by a missionary 


from Hawaii, the Reverend T. Dwight Hunt. Having outgrown the 
frame structure built at Jackson and Virginia Streets in 1850, the con- 
gregation spent $57,000 raised largely by pew rentals on a structure at 
Dupont (Grant Avenue) and California Streets. In 1872 it moved 
into a tall-spired red brick Gothic Church on the present site, and in 
1915 into the present building; here it was joined in 1937 by the 
Temple Methodist Church, which gave up its William Taylor Church. 

31. The eight-story red brick and buff tile NATIVE SONS OF 
THE GOLDEN WEST BUILDING (open daily 7 a.m.- 12 p.m.}, 
414-30 Mason St., houses an organization founded in 1875. J. J. 
Mora's terra cotta bas-reliefs between the upper windows depict epochs 
in pioneer history. Above the entrance are bas-relief portraits of Juni- 
pero Serra, John Charles Fremont, and John D. Sloat. Around the 
balcony of the auditorium, which seats 1,250, are intaglios portraying 
California writers. 

The (fourth-floor) FRENCH LIBRARY (open 1-6, 7-9; fee, 50$ 
monthly), conducted by L'Alliance Franchise, the largest French library 
in the United States, contains 21,000 volumes. It was founded in 1874 
as the Bibliotheque de la Ligue National Franchise, under the patronage 
of Raphael Weill, through the efforts of a society of French residents 
formed after 1871 to protest appropriation of Alsace and Lorraine by 

32. Against the dark panelling of the JOHN HOWELL BOOK 
SHOP (open 9-5:30), 434 Post St., gleam the rich colors of the rare 
old volumes which line the walls. The collection is especially rich in 
early Californiana and Elizabethan literature. Beyond the main room, 
a large studio displays the West's largest collection of rare Bibles. It 
includes a Venetian Latin Bible printed in 1478; the Bible printed by 
John Pruss at Strassburg in 1486, one of four in America; one of the 
nine copies of the first issue of the Martin Luther Bible, printed at 
Wittenberg in 1540-41 ; the Great "She" Bible of 1611 ; and the family 
Bible of Sir Walter Scott, hand-ruled in red. Also displayed is the first 
American edition of the Koran, printed in 1806. On the wall is a rare 
parchment containing 24 panels painted by a Buddhist priest which 
depict the story of Buddhist worship. 

33. NEWBEGIN'S BOOK SHOP (open 8:30-6), 358 Post St., 
was founded in 1889 by John J. Newbegin, friend of Ambrose Bierce, 
Ina Coolbrith, Jack London, and George Sterling. Mr. Newbegin is 
an authority on rare books; his collection of material dealing with ship- 
ping is said to be the world's largest. 

34. The vertical lines of the 22-story SIR FRANCIS DRAKE 
HOTEL, 450 Powell St., culminate in a six-story, set-back tower 
overlooking city^and Bay. The structure (Weeks and Day, architects) 
was completed in 1928. Four great panels by local muralist S. W. 


Bergman, depicting the visit of Sir Francis Drake to the Marin shores, 
decorate the English Renaissance lobby. Name bands play nightly in 
the Persian Room, whose low illuminated ceiling plays changing lights 
on the Persian murals of A. B. Heinsbergen. 

35. Looming in monumental grandeur above the business district, 
the FOUR-FIFTY SUTTER BUILDING, 450 Sutter St., rises a 
massive shaft with rounded corners, faced in fawn-colored stone 25 
stories above the street. A striking adaptation of Mayan motifs t'o func- 
tional design, the structure (Timothy L. Pflueger, architect), completed 
in 1930, required more than two years and $4,000,000 to build. Its 
wide entrance, topped by a four-story grilled window in a tree-like 
Mayan design, is in nice proportion to the facade's severe lines. Large 
windows, flush with the exterior, flood the offices with light especially 
the corner suites, which have six bay windows. The building provides 
its tenants doctors, dentists, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, and 
others of allied professions with a solarium, a doctors' lounge, and a 
i,ooo-car garage. 

36. December, 1914 saw completion of the $656,000 STOCKTON 
STREET TUNNEL (Michael O'Shaughnessy, engineer), boring 911 
feet through Nob Hill from Bush almost to Sacramento Street to con- 
nect downtown San Francisco with Chinatown and North Beach. The 
tunnel is 36 feet wide and 19 feet high; sodium vapor lights were in- 
stalled in 1939. 

tories), 566 Bush St., serves San Francisco's French colony. The 
church, completed in 1913, is of Byzantine and French Renaissance 
architecture, constructed of brick with groined twin towers and high 
arched stained-glass windows. 

38. Since 23-year-old Leander S. Sherman in 1870 bought the shop 
where he had been employed to repair music boxes, SHERMAN, 
CLAY AND COMPANY, SW. corner Kearny and Sutter Sts., has 
ministered to the city's musical wants. Since the 1 870*5, the firm 
known as Sherman, Hyde, and Company until Major C. C. Clay 
bought out F. A. Hyde's original interest has been selling music lovers 
their supplies and tickets to concerts and recitals. 

39. let on parle Francais (French spoken here) was the legend 
which Messrs. Davidson and Lane, founders of THE WHITE 
HOUSE (open 9:45-5:25), Grant Ave., Sutter, and Post Sts., hung 
in the window of their small shop on the water front when they hired 
1 8-year-old Raphael Weill as a clerk in 1854. When Richard Lane 
went into gold mining in 1858, young Weill took his place as partner 
of J. W. Davidson and Company. As San Francisco grew rich, the 
store began to dazzle shoppers with costly and daring Paris importations. 
When Raphael Weill asked one of the newspapers for a full-page 


advertisement, he was indignantly refused. "What does he think we're 
running, a signboard or a newspaper?" demanded the editor. "He gets 
two columns, no more!" But Weill got his full-page advertisement, 
the first in the history of the retail business. 

When the store moved to its own three-story brick building at 
Kearny and Post Streets, Weill persuaded his partner to name it after 
the famous Maison Blanche in Paris. By 1900, when The White 
House was outfitting the women of the city in high-button shoes and 
ostrich boas and filling homes with sofa pillows and table throws, its 
fame had spread up and down the Coast. The 1906 fire reduced it to 
a heap of ashes. Weill promptly wired New York for carloads of 
merchandise, which he distributed to 5,000 women. Having vowed 
that he would not shave until the store reopened, he let his beard grow 
for three months while quarters on Van Ness Avenue were prepared. 
When the present five-story structure, faced with white terra cotta 
(Albert Pissis, architect) opened March 15, 1909, jt was one of the 
first to reopen in the old shopping section. Weill lived to see the store 
overflow into two adjoining buildings before his death in 1920 at the 
age of 84. 

Philanthropist, epicure, and patron of the arts, Weill left his impress 
on the organization. Employees celebrate his birthday annually and 
the store still closes on the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, whom he 
greatly admired. In the street-floor MEMORIAL OFFICE (open business 
hours), which Weill set aside as a place to greet his old friends, fresh 
flowers are still placed among the honors heaped on Weill: old photo- 
graphs, citations, and plaques a little museum of old San Francisco. 

40. Around the show windows of the florists' shop of PODESTA 
AND BALDOCCHI (open weekdays 8-6, Sun. S-n a.m.), 224 Grant 
Ave., passersby cluster to admire flaunting sprays of rare orchids, ex- 
quisite lilies, or rich-textured camellias, arranged with spectacular 
artistry among many kinds of blossoms. In the early spring, the shop 
is embowered in pink and white flowering branches of fruit trees; at 
other seasons, in great masses of trailing greenery. 

41. One of the Nation's oldest jewelry establishments, SHREVE 
AND COMPANY (open 9-5), NW. corner Grant Ave. and Post St., 
have been dealing in precious stones and rare objects of gold and silver 
since 1852. It is the only large downtown store still operating whose 
advertisement appeared in the San Francisco City Directory of 1856 
when its address was No. 139 Montgomery St. 

42. Book and art lovers frequent PAUL ELDER AND COM- 
PANY (open 9-5:30), 239 Post St., established in 1898. Elder not 
only sells current literature, rare editions, and used books in a shop 

whose Gothic decorative motifs were suggested by Bernard Maybeck 


designer of the Palace of Fine Arts but also presents lectures, dramatic 
readings, and book and art exhibits in the second-floor galleries. 

43. To collectors the world over, the name of S. G. GUMP AND 
COMPANY (open 9:45-5:25}, 250 Post St., means jade, but the 
firm's agents have scoured the world for more than jade. Show rooms 
are styled to conform with the rare objects they contain. Since Solo- 
mon and Gustave Gump founded the firm in 1865, it has grown into 
an institution whose buyers gather items for collectors throughout the 
Nation. In its show rooms are displayed modern china, pottery, glass, 
linens, silverware, and jewelry; silks, brocades, and velvets; Siamese 
and Cambodian sculpture; porcelain and cloisonne, rich-textured tap- 
estries, bronze temple bells, hardwood screens ornamented with jade, 
and rugs from Chinese palaces acquired after the overthrow of the 
Manchu government. In the Jade Room all of the eight colors and 
45 shades of the stone are represented, including the rarest, that most 
nearly resembling emerald; pink, so rare that only small pieces have 
been found; and spinach green, a dark tone flecked with black, used for 
large decorative pieces. The collection of tomb jade, recovered from 
mounds in which mandarins were interred, includes pieces 2,000 years 
old. The Jade Room also contains figurines carved of ivory, crystal, 
rose quartz, white and pink coral, rhinoceros horn, and semiprecious 

44. Fluctuat nee Mergitur (It floats and never sinks), Paris' own 
municipal motto, has been the slogan of the CITY OF PARIS (open 
9:45-5:25}, SE. corner Stockton and Geary Sts., since the spring of 
1850, when Felix Verdier hung up over an edifice constructed largely 
of packing cases the sign: 

Felix Verdier, Proprietor 
Fluctuat nee Mergitur" 

The motto was appropriate, for the contents of "La Ville de Paris" 
had been afloat ever since Verdier had left France in a ship whose cargo 
he bought with profits from his silk-stocking factory at Nimes. (A 
republican, he had preferred exile to the new emperor.) Destroyed sev- 
eral times by fire, the store moved each time to larger quarters. When 
Felix was succeeded, at his death in the late i86o's, by his son Gaston, 
it was moved into its own building at Geary Street and Grant Avenue. 
It came to its present location in 1896. 

Twenty-four-year-old Paul Verdier had scarcely taken over in 1906 
when the building was destroyed. First store in town to reopen, it 
resumed business in a mansion on Van Ness Avenue. The present six- 
story building with its glass dome rising above balconies, its Louis 


XVI window frames of white enamel and carved, gilded wood was 
opened in the spring of 1909. At the peak of the dome appear the 
original crest of Paris, a ship in full sail, and the motto. Author of 
A History of Wine, Paul Verdier personally selects the more than 
1,000 choice vintages which stock the cellars. 

9:45-5:2$), SW. corner Stockton and Geary Sts., opened in 1850 (as 
Blumenthal and Hirsch), it sold mining equipment. By 1886, when 
Bernard Nathan, manager since the founder's death, took as his partner 
Frederick W. Dohrmann, the firm was stocking oil lamps, basins, ewers, 
and shaving mugs. Still managed by descendants of Nathan and Dohr- 
mann, it now sells wares and utensils of all descriptions. 

46. In a studio penthouse the COURVOISIER GALLERIES 
(open 9-5:30), 133 Geary St., present shows of contemporary American 
and foreign art. Founded as an art shop in 1902 by Ephraim B. Cour- 
voisier, the business was burned out in 1906. Courvoisier recouped his 
losses by restoring the fire-damaged paintings of wealthy collectors. 
The friend of such artists as Charles Rollo Peters, Thomas Hill, and 
William Keith, he developed a large clientele which followed him even 
when reverses forced him for a while to a Kearny Street alley. The 
firm was taken over by his son in 1927. After its exhibition in 1938 
of the original water colors on celluloid for Walt Disney's Snow White 
and the Seven Dwarfs, it acquired the exclusive agency for sale of the 
originals from Disney's future productions. 

47. Behind a shining all-glass three-story facade, the ANGELO J. 
ROSSI COMPANY (open weekdays 8-6:30, Sun. 8-12 a.m.), 45 
Grant Ave., streamlined florist's establishment owned by the Mayor of 
San Francisco, displays masses of fragrant bloom against mirrored walls. 

48. A neo-Gothic eight-story building houses O'CONNOR, MOF- 
FATT AND COMPANY (open 9:45-5:25), NW. corner O'Farrell 
and Stockton Sts., founded in 1866 by Bryan O'Connor, newly arrived 
from Australia. O'Connor was so impressed with the city's prosperity 
that he sent to Melbourne for his friend, George Moffatt. Since the 
death of O'Connor and retirement of Moffatt in 1887, tne business has 
been carried on by descendants of the first employees. The original 
dry-goods store moved in 1929 to its present building and expanded, 
becoming a department store. 

49. Young Adolphe Roos, who founded the clothing firm of ROOS 
BROTHERS (open 9:45-5:25), NE. corner Stockton and Market 
Sts., arrived in San Francisco from France in time for the stampede to 
the Virginia City (Nevada) mines, where he made his stake by out- 
fitting miners. Returning to San Francisco, he sent for his younger 
brother, Achille; together they opened the first Roos Brothers store on 
Leidesdorff Street in 1865. Since 1908 the firm, now guided by the 


founder's son, Robert Roos, has occupied its present five-story building. 
Remodeled (1936-38) at a cost of $1,000,000 (J. S. Fairweather, 
building architect; Albert R. Williams, interior architect), it was trans- 
formed into a series of individually designed shops, its street entrances 
equipped with doors automatically opened by electric beams and its 
interiors with fluorescent illumination simulating daylight. The vari- 
ous shops are panelled with rare woods hairwood from the British 
Isles, Yuba wood from Australia, Jenisero from Central America; in 
one shop is a mosaic in which more than 48 varieties are used. 

50. Largest daily circulation in the city is boasted by the paper 
published in the SAN FRANCISCO NEWS BUILDING (visitors 
shown through plant by appointment), 812 Mission St., whose twelve 
presses grind out eight regular editions daily. The first edition is re- 
leased at 1 1 a.m., the last at 5 .-30 p.m. The paper is one of the Scripps- 
Howard chain. 

51. The i8-story gray-green HUMBOLDT BANK BUILDING, 
785 Market St., capped by a fantastically adorned dome, was built in 
1907 (Meyer and O'Brien, architects). Under construction when the 
earthquake and fire destroyed it, it was completely rebuilt the first 
architectural contract placed after the disaster. Bronze doors lead 
into the banking room of the Bank of America (open Mon.-Fri. 10- 
3:30, Sat. 10-12), ornate with white Ionic columns, warm Sienna 
marbles, and buff mosaic floor. 

52. The domed, granite AMERICAN TRUST COMPANY 
BUILDING (Savings Union Office; open 10-3 Mon.-Fri., 10-12 
Sat.), NW. corner Market St., Grant Ave., and O'Farrell St., was 
erected in 1910. The pediment above the Ionic-pillared portico is 
adorned with Haig Patigian's bas-reliefs of the head of Liberty between 
flying eagles (based on Augustus St. Gauden's design for $20 gold 
pieces). Corinthian columns, Travernelle marble pilasters, and Caen 
stone walls lend richness to the 65-foot-high banking room. The Ameri- 
can Trust Company was formed through successive mergers of older 
institutions, one of which, the Savings Union Bank and Trust Com- 
pany, was the city's oldest surviving savings bank, dating back to foun- 
dation of the San Francisco Accumulating Fund Association in 1854. 

53- The ageing six-story buff-brick BANCROFT BUILDING, 
731 Market St., is named for the Bancroft brothers historian Hubert 
Howe and publisher Albert L. who conducted in its five-story prede- 
cessor (second brick building erected on Market Street) a book-selling 
and publishing firm. In partnership with George L. Kenny, Hubert 
Howe Bancroft previously had gone into the book-selling business in 
quarters on Montgomery Street. Joining the firm, his brother Albert 
planned the new Market Street office building, opened in 1870. In 
1875 the firm announced: "Bancroft's Historical Library is the basis 


of important scientific and descriptive works of a local nature, and 
maps or books of reference relating to the Pacific Coast." In the same 
year appeared the first of Hubert Howe Bancroft's histories, Volume I 
of his Native Races of the Pacific Coast of North America. In the 
fifth-floor publishing department, Bancroft went ahead with his pro- 
digious labors of compiling in detail the history of all Western America. 
One of the pioneers of mass production methods in literature, he directed 
a large staff of anonymous collaborators. In 1884 he published the first 
of his seven volumes on the history of California carrying a list of 
quoted authorities 66 pages long. Before his death in 1918, he had 
accumulated a library of 500 or more rare manuscripts and 60,000 
volumes, now housed in the Bancroft Library at the University of 

54. The 22-story steel-and-concrete CENTRAL TOWER, SW. 
corner Market and Third Sts., defies detection as the old Claus 
Spreckels Building. It was remodeled along functional lines in 1938. 
The simply decorated entrance relieves the severity of the unornamented 
vertical shaft with its six-story tower. In the lobby, the walls are 
vitriolite brick. In 1895 Claus Spreckels bought the site and erected 
a ig-story building in which the Call was published for a time. Dur- 
ing the Spanish-American War, a cannon thundered news of American 
victories from the roof. Only bright spot in a darkened and devastated 
area, during the days after April 18, 1906, was the light kept burning 
in the partly destroyed cupola. In its report the Geological Survey 
said "the general behavior of this structure demonstrates that high build- 
ings subject to earthquake can be erected with safety even on sand 

55. The 12-story HEARST BUILDING (visitors conducted on 
two-hour tour J-Q p.m.), SE. corner Market and Third Sts., of white 
terra cotta with polychrome ornamentation, houses the San Francisco 
Examiner, first paper in the Hearst chain. The first of its five regular 
daily editions appears on the streets about seven o'clock in the evening. 
On this site was the Nucleus Hotel, first brick building on Market 
Street, which surprised everyone contrary to the woeful predictions 
of skeptics by surviving the earthquake of 1868 almost unscathed. 

56. Beloved to old-timers is LOTTA'S FOUNTAIN, corner 
Market, Geary, and Kearny Sts., the cast-iron shaft presented to the city 
in 1875 by little laughing, black-eyed Lotta Crabtree, who won the 
adoration of San Francisco in the era of gallantry and easy money that 
followed the age of gold. The 24-foot fountain within its granite base, 
conventional lion heads, and brass medallions depicting California scenes 
is commonplace, but its donor was one of the sensational personages of 
the last century. 

In 1853 when Lola Montez visited Rabbit Creek, a small gold 


camp near Grass Valley, she taught singing and dancing to the eight- 
year-old daughter of one of the prospectors. Not long afterward her 
pupil made a sensational first appearance in a Sierra mining town: gold 
as well as applause was showered upon the young Lotta by generous 
Argonauts. Her subsequent debut in San Francisco was no less encour- 
aging. At the age of 17 she appeared on the New York stage, and at 
44 she retired. Fortunate real estate investments augmented her for- 
tune, which at her death (1924) exceeded $4,000,000. After her 
retirement her fountain was neglected, and its site, a busy downtown 
intersection, became known as Newspaper Square from the large number 
of newsboys who congregated there. In 1910, however, another and 
perhaps a greater singer brought Lotta's Fountain once more into 
prominence. At midnight on Christmas Eve, hushed thousands massed 
as Louisa Tetrazzini sang "The Last Rose of Summer" beside the 
fountain. In remembrance of the event, a bas-relief portrait of the 
singer by Haig Patigian was added to the monument. 

57. When the De Young brothers, proprietors of the San Francisco 
Chronicle, decided in 1890 to put up the ten-story red brick DE 
YOUNG BUILDING, NE. corner Market, Geary, and Kearny Sts., 
they were considered optimistic. On a site then rather far west of the 
business district, they proposed to erect a steel-frame structure the 
first in San Francisco. Chicago architects Burnham and Root designed 
an edifice whose simple lines reveal the Romanesque style of their 
teacher, Henry Hobson Richardson. Wiseacres were convinced the 
structure would not survive an earthquake but the disaster of 1906 
proved them to be wrong. A 1 7-story annex just completed at the time 
was repaired and the interior of the original structure rebuilt. Here, 
until 1924, was the home of the Chronicle. 

58. One of the dozen sidewalk booths shaded by gay umbrellas 
which enliven the streets of the shopping district is the FLOWER 
STAND, Market, Geary, and Kearny Sts., standing on the location 
where the first flower vendors stood in the i88o's. When the De Young 
Building was erected, Michael de Young allowed the vendors most 
of whom were boys of Italian, Belgian, Irish, or Armenian descent 
to sell their flowers in front of the building, protecting them from the 
policemen. The curbside stands were first licensed in 1904. All at- 
tempts to suppress them have been halted by storms of protest from 
press and public. Their wares change with the seasons from January, 
when the first frilled golden-yellow daffodils and great armfuls of 
feathery acacia with its fluffy tassels make their appearance, to Decem- 
ber, when hosts of flaming crimson poinsettias and great bunches of 
scarlet toyon berries herald the advent of the holidays. 

59. The original PALACE HOTEL, Market and New Mont- 
gomery Sts., was (according to Oscar Lewis and Carroll Hall) "at 


least four times too large for its period and place, but the town had 
never had a sense of proportion and no one was disturbed." Least 
disturbed was its builder, William C. Ralston. This "world's grandest 
hotel" would cover two and one-half acres ; it would soar to the impres- 
sive height of seven stories and contain 800 rooms; its marble-paved, 
glass-roofed Grand Court (about which the rectangular structure was 
designed) would face Montgomery Street through an arched driveway; 
artesian wells drilled on the spot would supply its storage reservoirs 
with 760,000 gallons of water; its rooms would contain "noiseless" 
water closets and gadgets designed to make life at the Palace effortless 
and luxurious. 

But three years' advance publicity satiated even a town reared on 
superlatives, and before the hotel opened San Franciscans had chuckled 
at the announcement of local columnist "Derrick Dodd" : "The statis- 
tician of the News Letter estimates the ground covered ... to be eleven 
hundred and fifty-four square miles, six yards, two inches ... A con- 
tract is already given out for the construction of a flume from the 
Yosemite to conduct the Bridal Veil fall thither, and which it is de- 
signed to have pour over the east front. . . . The beds are made with 
Swiss watch springs and stuffed with camel's hair, each single hair 
costing eleven cents. . . . There are thirty-four elevators in all four 
for passengers, ten for baggage and twenty for mixed drinks. Each 
elevator contains a piano and a bowling alley . . ." Of the dining room 
the News Letter predicted: "All the entrees will be sprinkled with 
gold dust . . ." 

For once, San Francisco was to be treated to reality that exceeded 
even the exaggerations of its humorists. Ralston, desirous of develop- 
ing local industries, financed many factories to supply the hotel's needs 
until his cautious associate, Senator William Sharon, finally asked: "If 
you are going a buy a foundry for a nail, a ranch for a plank, and a 
manufactory to build furniture, where is this going to end?" Ralston 
continued to pour millions into the structure and died before its com- 
pletion, owing the Bank of California $4,000,000. Sharon, who had 
wondered "where it was going to end," found himself in possession of 
the hotel. 

Through the doors of the Palace, opened in October 1875, passed 
"the great, the near-great, and the merely flamboyant . . . bonanza 
kings and royalty alike . . . Grant, Sheridan, and Sherman were feasted 
in the banquet halls; and the Friday night Cotillion Club danced . . . 
in the ballroom . . ." Here the graceful manners of Oscar Wilde 
charmed a local "lady reporter," and James J. Jeffries gave a champagne 
party for a sweater-clad coterie. Here royalty was impressed (said 
Brazil's emperor, Dom Pedro II, in 1876: "Nothing makes me ashamed 


of Brazil so much as the Palace Hotel.") and royalty died (King David 
Kalahaua of Hawaii, January 20, 1891). 

For more than a quarter of a century the Palace played host to the 
world. As its marble halls became less fabulous its reputation grew 
more so. Tales related of its "great and near-great" were echoed in a 
hundred cities. Climax to them all were the stories told of the early 
morning of April 18, 1906 when the hotel's scores of guests were shaken 
violently from slumber and sent wide-eyed into debris-strewn streets. 
Among the most alarmed was Enrico Caruso; the great tenor joined 
fellow members of the Metropolitan Opera Company carrying a portrait 
of Theodore Roosevelt and wearing a towel about his famous throat. 
Although it suffered only minor interior damage by the 'quake, the 
Palace succumbed, its elaborate fire-fighting system useless against the 
raging inferno. 

Rebuilt in 1909 on the same site, the present eight-story tan-brick 
and terra cotta structure is in the Beaux Art tradition. There are low 
grills at the windows and several ornate iron balconies. The eighth 
floor is surmounted by an elaborate frieze. Reminders of the past are 
a porte cochere on the site of the carriage entrance to the Grand Court, 
facing (across the lobby) the present glass-roofed Palm Court; the 
Comstock Room, a duplicate of the room wherein the "Nevada Four" 
opened their poker sessions with a "take-out" of $75,000 in ivory chips; 
the Happy Valley cocktail lounge with its Sotomayor murals of Lotta 
Crabtree and "Emperor" Norton; and the Pied Piper Buffet (for men) 
with its mahogany fixtures and Maxfield Parrish painting (modeled by 
Maude Adams). No less illustrious than the guests of the old Palace 
have been the patrons of the new. In 1923 the hotel was the saddened 
host to Warren G. Harding, who died in the presidential suite. 

A corridor leads from the Palace lobby to the studios of KSFO 
(entrance at 140 Jessie St.), constructed in 1938 at a cost of $400,000. 
The interior is effectively decorated in soft blues and grays highlighted 
by chromium trim. A circular staircase leads to the second-floor recep- 
tion lounge, executive offices, master control room, and broadcasting 
studios. The third floor is devoted to the engineering, script, music, 
art and advertising departments. 

To prevent vibration, each studio is suspended on springs, with 
walls and ceilings constructed so as to form no parallel lines, thus 
eliminating echoes. A layer of spun glass fibre underlying perforated 
walls soundproofs each studio. 

60. San Francisco's oldest surviving newspaper, the Call-Bulletin, 
is published at the CALL BUILDING (visitors shown through plant 
by appointment), 74 New Montgomery St., its presses turning out four 
daily editions (the first appears about 10.45 a.m.) with an average cir- 
culation of 110,000. 


61. The gray stone walls, sometimes floodlighted in gleaming yellow 
splendor by night, of the monolithic PACIFIC TELEPHONE AND 
TELEGRAPH BUILDING, 140 New Montgomery St., enclose the 
head offices of a telephone network embracing all the far West. Largest 
building on the Pacific Coast devoted to one firm's exclusive use at the 
time of its completion in 1925, it was built at a cost of $3,000,000 
(J. R. Miller, T. L. Pflueger, and A. A. Cantin, architects). From 
each of the four facades of its four-story tower, two huge stone eagles 
survey the city from their 26-story perches. The terra cotta facade, 
with its lofty piers and mullions tapering upward in Gothic effect, 
cloaks but does not hide the structural lines. The building's 210,000 
square feet of floor space provide working room for 2,000 employees. 

62. A monument to San Francisco's early-day regard for learning 
Post St., erected in 1910 (Albert Pissis, architect), which houses the 
Mechanics-Mercantile Library (open weekdays 9 a.m.-io p.m., Sun. 
1-5). On December n, 1854, a group of citizens met in the tax col- 
lector's office to found a Mechanics' Institute for the advancement of 
the mechanic arts and sciences; and on March 6, 1855, they adopted 
a constitution providing for "the establishment of a library, reading 
room, the collection of a cabinet, scientific apparatus, works of art, and 
for other literary and scientific purposes." With four books presented 
by one S. Bugbee The Bible, the Constitution of the United States, 
an Encyclopaedia of Architecture, and Curtis on Conveyancing the 
library began its activities in June, 1855. 

Progress of the association began with the inauguration of annual 
Mechanics' and Manufacturers' Fairs, September 7, 1857, m a pavilion 
on Montgomery Street between Post and Sutter Streets. As the fairs 
became civic events of prime importance, one sprawling wooden pavilion 
after another was built to house them six in all, of which the third 
and fourth occupied Union Square; the fifth, Eighth Street between 
Mission and Market Streets; and the sixth, the site of the Civic Audi- 
torium. The last of the fairs was held in 1899. 

In 1866 the Institute built its first structure on the present site. 
By 1872 it had collected a library of 17,239 volumes. In January, 
1906 it merged with the Mercantile Library Association, organized in 
1852 by a group of merchants. The merger of the two associations, 
whose combined library numbered 200,000 volumes, had scarcely been 
affected, however, when the fire of 1906 destroyed books, equipment, 
and building. Hard hit, the Institute nevertheless had acquired a new 
library of 40,000 volumes by 1912, when it realized from the sale of 
its pavilion lot to the city the sum of $700,000. Its present (1940) 
collection of 195,000 volumes is especially notable in the fields of science 


and technology. The Mechanics' Institute also provides for its mem- 
bers a chess and checker room and a lecture series. 

NW. corner Post and Montgomery Sts., stands on the site of the old 
Masonic Temple. Oldest national bank in California, it is a merger 
of the First National Bank, opened in 1871 with James D. Phelan as 
president, and the Crocker National Bank, organized in 1883 by Charles 
Crocker (one of the "Big Four"). The two banks were consolidated 
in 1926. Of Italian Renaissance style, its entrance is distinguished by 
a rotunda supported on granite pillars (Willis Polk and Company, 

64. Prosaic monument to a story-book past is the 12-story granite 
NEVADA BANK BUILDING, NE. corner Montgomery and Mar- 
ket Sts., housing the Wells Fargo Bank and Union Trust Company. 
A lively chapter in the history of the West is the story of its parent 
institution, Wells Fargo and Company. A year before its incorporation 
in New York the express firm was buying and selling "dust," receiving 
deposits, and selling exchange. One of the few institutions to survive 
the "Black Friday" of February 1855, it operated its banking business 
until 1878 in conjunction with its express activities. In 1905 the Wells 
Fargo Bank was consolidated with the Nevada Bank and in 1924, with 
the Union Trust Company. The present building, built in 1894, was 
raised to a height of ten stories in 1903 and to twelve in 1907-08. 
The History Room on the tenth floor houses a historical library and a 
museum of pioneer relics including a stagecoach, veteran of the Over- 
land Trail; the golden spike which Leland Stanford drove at Promon- 
tory, Utah, in 1869; and a gold scale that weighed $55,000,000 worth 
of the gold dust mined in the Mother Lode. 

65. The neo-Gothic, gable-roofed ONE ELEVEN SUTTER 
BUILDING, SW. corner Montgomery and Sutter Sts., since 1927 has 
reared its buff-colored terra cotta facades 22 stories above a site which 
was worth $300 when James Lick bought it and $175,000 when he 
died. The marble-inlaid lobby and corridors of the interior (Schultze 
and Weaver, architects) the pillars adorned with green and white 
Verde Antique from Greece, the lobby floor with Hungarian red, the 
corridor floors with Italian Botticino, Tennessee pink, and Belgian 
black marbles rival the luxurious interior of the Lick House, which 
Lick built here in 1862. The latter hostelry boasted $1,000 gas chan- 
deliers, mirrored walls, and mosaic floors of rare imported woods. 
Trained as a cabinet-maker, the eccentric millionaire finished with his 
own hands the woodwork of the luxurious banquet hall. 

The building houses offices and studios of the National Broadcasting 
Company's stations KGO and KPO (open 8:30 a.m.-n p.m.). On the 
second and third floors are the reception lobby, executive and business 


offices, and production departments. The broadcasting studios, each 
with its own control room and monitor's booth, occupy the 2ist and 
22nd stones. Sharing these top floors respectively are the music library, 
largest of its kind west of New York, and the master control room, 
distributor for incoming broadcasts. 

66. Because of well-balanced construction, the 1 6-story ALEX- 
ANDER BUILDING, SW. corner Montgomery and Bush Sts., a 
simple shaft faced in buff-colored brick and terra cotta whose vertical 
lines give it a towering grace, is considered ideal for studies of earth- 
quake stresses on skyscrapers. Seismographs installed at top, center, 
and bottom of the structure by the U. S. Geodetic Survey furnish re- 
search data for the University of California and Stanford University. 
The building was erected in 1921 (Lewis Hobart, architect). 

67. "The Monument to 1929" thus have financial circles, since 
the stock market crash, referred to the three-story granite SAN FRAN- 
Miller and T. L. Pflueger, architects). Scene of the frenzied specula- 
tion of the 1920*8, it housed the San Francisco Mining Exchange until 
1928, when it was taken over by the newly organized San Francisco 
Curb Exchange. Remodeled in 1938, when the Curb Exchange was 
absorbed by the San Francisco Stock Exchange, it now houses the Cali- 
fornia State Chamber of Commerce. 

68. "An example to all Western architects of a model office build- 
ing," wrote Ernest Peixotto in 1893 of the MILLS BUILDING, 220 
Montgomery Street, built in 1891 for banker Darius Ogden Mills 
(Burnham and Root, architects). "It is an architectural composition, 
and not mere walls pierced by window openings ... It consists of a 
two-story basement of Inyo marble, carrying a buff brick super-structure 
of seven stories, crowned by a two-story attic. The angle piers . . . 
are massive and sufficient; between them piers spring from the third 
story, crowned in the eighth by arches . . . The effect of height is 
strengthened by the strongly marked lines of the piers . . . The focus 
for ornament is the Montgomery Street entrance, which rises to an 
arch ... as large and ample as it should be . . ." So sound was the 
building's construction that it survived the fire of 1906 with little dam- 
age to its exterior. Adhering to the original design, Willis Polk super- 
vised its restoration in 1908 and the erection of additions in 1914 and 
1918. When the adjoining 22-story MILLS TOWER (entrance at 
220 Bush St.) to which all but the second of the older building's ten 
floors have direct access was erected in 1931, architect Lewis Hobart 
also followed Burnham's design. The same buff-colored pressed brick 
especially manufactured for the original building was used on its facade. 
The combined buildings contain 1,300 offices and 350,000 feet of floor 


On the site of the Mills Building in the i86o's stood Platt's Hall, 
a great square auditorium where people flocked for lectures, concerts, 
and political conventions. On its stage, Thomas Starr King lifted 
Bret Harte from obscurity by reading his poem, "The Reveille." 
Among the attractions which drew crowds were Henry Ward Beecher 
and General Tom Thumb and his wife. 

69. Largest office building on the Pacific Coast, the block-long 
RUSS BUILDING, 235 Montgomery St., stands on the ground where 
Christian Russ, in 1847, established a residence for his family of twelve. 
Here in 1861 the owner of Russ' Gardens built the Russ House, a 
hotel long favored by farmers, miners and merchants. Still owned by 
his heirs, its site, nine decades after Russ acquired it at auction for 
$37-5> was assessed at $675,000. Construction of today's $5,500,000 
skyscraper, begun in July, 1926, was completed in September, 1927. 
Modernized Gothic, the massive, sandy-hued edifice rises 31 stories, its 
three wings deployed in the shape of an "E" (George W. Kelham, 
architect). Its 1,370 offices, comprising 335,245 square feet of floor 
space, house 3,500 persons. With its 4OO-car garage and its eleventh- 
story complete shopping department, the building provides its personnel 
with every service from a Public Library branch to a language transla- 
tion bureau. 

corner Montgomery and California Sts., marks the SITE OF THE 
PARROTT BUILDING. The latter, San Francisco's first stone 
structure, was built in 1852 by Chinese masons of granite blocks quar- 
ried in China. When the Chinese struck for higher pay they won their 
demands because no other available workers could read the markings 
on the blocks. The old building survived earthquake and fire but was 
torn down in 1926 when the present skyscraper was built. 

71. Ten lofty granite Tuscan columns flanked by massive pylons 
dominate the temple-like Pine Street facade of the SAN FRANCISCO 
STOCK EXCHANGE BUILDING (open Mon.-Fri. 7-2:30, Sat. 
7-77), SW. corner Pine and Sansome Sts. (public entrance 155 San- 
some St.). The pylons, carved by Ralph Stackpole, symbolizing Mother 
Earth's fruitfulness and Man's inventive genius, stand on either side 
of the steps. Above the Pine Street wing, which houses the Trading 
Room (members only), rises the 12-story gray granite tower of the 
administration wing. Above its doorway, carved in high relief, is 
Stackpole's The Progress of Man, and on the lintel, a sculptured eagle 
with outstretched wings. The walls of the public lobby are inlaid with 
dusky red Levanto marble and the ceiling with gold leaf in a geometric 
star design. A marble stairway ascends to the visitors' gallery over- 
looking the Trading Room. 

Above the high windows of east and west walls of the Trading 


Room are Robert Boardman Howard's two groups of three sculptured 
panels one portraying development of electric power ; the other, devel- 
opment of gas power. Along north and south walls extend the quota- 
tion boards, their markers' galleries equipped with ticker receiving 
instruments and headset telephones. Beneath, an annunciator signal 
system summons members to their booths along the sides of the room. 
At the center of the brown rubber-tiled trading floor is stationed the 
telegraph ticker transmitting station, which sends reports of every trans- 
action to brokers' offices along the Pacific Coast. Around it are sta- 
tioned four oak-panelled hollow enclosures for nine trading posts, each 
equipped with electrically synchronized stamping devices that indicate 
the time of every order to a tenth of a minute. Essential to the rapid 
handling of orders is the telephone exchange, busiest in San Francisco, 
which handles an estimated total of 5,000 calls per hour of trading. 
It can handle 1,800 calls at one time, with a peak capacity of 180,000 
words per minute. 

The ninth floor of the administration wing houses headquarters of 
the Governing Board and exchange officials. The solid oak door to the 
walnut-panelled Governing Board room is carved with a bas-relief by 
Robert Boardman Howard depicting the steps in construction of a 
building. The Lunch Club quarters (not open to the public) on the 
tenth and eleventh floors are decorated with frescoes by Diego Rivera 
depicting California history. 

In the basement of a building a block northward, the Stock and 
Bond Exchange was organized September 18, 1882, by 19 pioneer 
brokers. It succeeded several earlier exchanges, of which the first, the 
San Francisco Stock and Exchange Board (contemporaneously referred 
to as "The Forty Thieves"), had been established in 1862. Since 
1882 the present exchange has stopped functioning as the pulse of busi- 
ness life on the Pacific Coast on only three occasions: April 18, 1906, 
because of the earthquake and fire; July 31, 1914, because of the World 
War; and March 2-14, 1933, because of the National bank holiday. 
Its memberships, which sold for $50 in 1882 and rose to an all-time 
high of $225,000 in 1928, today sell for varying sums, the most recent 
sale price having been $16,500. 

72. The BANK OF CALIFORNIA (open Mon.-Fri. 10-3, Sat. 
10-12), NW. corner Sansome and California Sts., was erected in 1908 
(Bliss and Faville, architects). The gray granite building has tall and 
finely proportioned Corinthian colonnades. The immense banking room, 
112 feet long and 54 feet high, faced in Tennessee marble, resembles 
a Roman basilica. In the rear on either side of a large clock are carved 
marble lions (Arthur Putnam, sculptor). Less subdued in its magnifi- 
cence was the .palatial edifice erected on this site to house the bank in 
1867, three years after its establishment with Darius Ogden Mills as 












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president and William C. Ralston as cashier. To clear the site they 
moved the Tehama House which humorist "John Phoenix" celebrated 
in A Legend of the Tehama House a popular hostelry among Mexican 
rancheros and military and naval officers. Ralston built a handsome 
two-story structure with tall arched windows surmounted by medallions 
and framed in marble columns, a cornice crowned with a stone balus- 
trade supporting fretted vases, doors and balcony railings of bronze, 
and a burnished copper roof. For a decade the bank was the financial 
colossus of all the territory west of the Rocky Mountains. It reached 
into Nevada, during the Comstock Lode boom, to establish four branch 
banks. When the collapse of the silver boom brought it crashing from 
financial dominance in 1875, the whole State was shaken. But the 
reorganized bank survived and grew, taking over in 1905 the London 
and San Francisco Bank, Ltd., with branches in Oregon and Wash- 

A glass case in the main office contains the scales on which Darius 
Ogden Mills weighed some $50,000,000 of miners' gold in the tent 
which he set up at Columbia in 1849, before coming to San Francisco 
to become president of Ralston's bank. 

73. Venerable home of a parent organization of the San Francisco 
Chamber of Commerce was the 1 4-story MERCHANTS' EX- 
CHANGE BUILDING, NE. corner California and Sansome Sts. 
Here until 1911 the city's moguls of industry and agriculture congre- 
gated to regulate and put through huge deals in hay, grain, and ship- 
ping. In bonanza days Robert Louis Stevenson used to haunt the 
Exchange's central board room, where he found material in such men 
as John D. Spreckels for heroes of The Wreckers. 

Since 1851 the main-floor MARINE EXCHANGE (always open) has 
operated continuously except during 1906 and though much of its 
romantic element was lost with the passing of sailing ships, its function 
remains virtually the same. Outgrowth of the old Merchants' Ex- 
change and Reading Room established in 1849 by Messrs. Sweeny and 
Baugh, who operated the signal station on Telegraph Hill, the Exchange 
is connected with lookout stations which report every movement of 
local shipping. It receives and compiles complete information from 
every Pacific Coast vessel from start to finish of every voyage. Files 
on the Exchange's mezzanine floor record launchings, cargoes, crews, 
disasters, sales, weather reports all marine information required by 
shippers, ship owners, ship chandlers, warehousemen, exporters, and 
importers. Before the advent of the telephone a messenger boy on horse- 
back rushed news of incoming ships from the Exchange to the city's 
major hotels. 

At one end of the Exchange, beneath an arch set at right angles 
to the south wall, hangs the original Vigilance Committee bell which 


hung on top of Fort Gunnybags in 1856. The bell, which once tolled 
the death knell of Cora and Gasey, now clangs to announce to the 
Exchange some mishap to a ship whose home port is San Francisco. 

Though grain, shipping, insurance, and similar firms still occupy 
this building, which survived the fire of 1906, its chief interest lies in 
such features as evoke its past. Something of its lusty social tradition 
survives in the Commercial Club occupying three top stories and in 
the Merchants' Exchange Club in the basement. Reminiscent of other 
days are Nils Hagerup's paintings on walls of the main lobby depicting 
Amundsen's explorations in the Gjoa and W. A. Coulter's ships in port 
and at sea. The latter's huge painting of the San Francisco fire hangs, 
draped with red velvet, in the billiard room of the Merchants' Ex- 
change Club. 

74. From ground above the hulls of long-buried sailing ships, the 
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK (open Mon.-Fri. 8:30-4:30, Sat. 
8:30-1}, NE. corner Sansome and Sacramento Sts., rears its eight white 
granite Ionic columns, rising up three of its seven stories to a classic 
pediment (George W. Kelham, architect). When steam shovels ex- 
cavated the basement vaults in 1922, they exposed the oaken skeleton 
of the city's first prison, the brig Euphemia, moored at Long Wharf in 
the 1 850'$. The Sansome Street entrance leads into a Travertine 
marble lobby with murals by Jules Guerin. From the Battery Street 
side, ramps descend to the vaults, where trucks discharge treasure for 
deposit behind 36-ton doors, under the hawk-eyed gaze of guards. 

75. By day, bathed in sunlight, the 3O-story SHELL BUILDING, 
NW. corner Battery and Bush Sts., San Francisco headquarters of the 
Shell Oil Company empire, is a buff, tapering shaft; by night, flood- 
light-swept, a tower looming in amber radiance. Its Bush Street en- 
trance is enriched with a filigree design in marble and bronze. Erected 
in 1929 (George W. Kelham, architect), it broke Pacific Coast records 
for rapid construction, rising three stories each week. 

76. With heroic vigor, the bronze figures of the DONAHUE 
MONUMENT, Battery, Bush, and Market Sts. (Douglas Tilden, 
sculptor) five brawny, half-naked workmen, struggling to force by 
lever a mechanical punch through plate metal are poised on their 
granite base, in a triangular pedestrian island. Executed in 1899, the 
monument is James Mervyn Donahue's memorial to his father, Peter 
Donahue, founder of San Francisco's first iron foundry, first street 
railway, and first gas company. A bronze plaque etched with a map 
in the pavement at its base marks the shoreline as it was before Yerba 
Buena Cove was filled in, when Market Street from this point north- 
east was a i,ooo-foot wharf. 

77. On what was the shifting sand of a Yerba Buena beach lot 
towers the 22-story, gray granite STANDARD OIL BUILDING, 


SW. corner Sansome and Bush Sts., erected in 1921 (George W. Kel- 
ham, architect). Its cornice-overhung facade, the upper stories adorned 
with Doric columns, is a modern adaptation of the Florentine style. 
The two-story vaulted entrance leads into an ornate lobby of bronze 
and marble. 

78. To trace the origins of the ANGLO CALIFORNIA NA- 
TIONAL BANK (open Mon.-Fri. 10-3, Sat. 10-12), i Sansome St., 
is to follow the ramifications of international finance. One of its 
parent institutions, the Anglo Californian Bank, Limited, organized in 
London in 1873, took over the San Francisco branch of J. and W. Selig- 
man and Company of New York, London, Paris, and Frankfurt. Three 
years later Lazard Freres, silk importers and exchange dealers of New 
York, London, and Paris, opened a San Francisco branch, out of which 
grew, in 1884, the London, Paris, and American Bank, Limited, of 
Great Britain. The two were consolidated in 1909 under the latter 
name and a new bank, the Anglo-Californian Trust Company, emerged 
to handle the older bank's savings business. The Fleishhacker brothers, 
Herbert and Mortimer, gained financial prominence as presidents of 
the two institutions. By 1920 the Anglo-Californian Trust Company 
had absorbed four San Francisco banks, and by 1928 it had opened 
eight local branches. From the merger of the two Fleishhacker banks 
in 1932 came today's Anglo California National Bank, which soon 
reached into the rest of the State. By 1939 when the number of 
banks absorbed by it and its parent institutions had grown to 15 it was 
operating branches from Redding in the north to Bakersfield in the 

79. Of the thousands of commuters who once poured daily through 
the Ferry Building, for six decades San Francisco's chief gateway from 
the east, most now enter the city through the BRIDGE TERMINAL 
BUILDING, Mission, First, and Fremont Sts. The low-spreading 
three-story steel-and-concrete structure, completed in 1939 at a cost of 
$2,300,000, is the terminal for electric interurban trains carrying pas- 
sengers over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to the East Bay. 
Through the terminal pass an estimated number of 60,000 persons 
daily, 21,000,000 annually. During the rush hour, between 4:45 and 
5 :45 p.m., when 37 trains arrive and depart, the building resounds with 
the din of shouting newsboys, taxi barkers, and streetcars clanging up 
the wide ramp from First and Mission Streets to discharge passengers at 
the entrance. Ramps and stairways ascend to the loading platforms 
which separate the three pairs of tracks. To diminish noise, the rails are 
laid on timber ties embedded in concrete which rests on a two-inch 
insulated cushion. A viaduct carries the trains high above streets and 
buildings onto the lower bridge deck. Their speed is governed by a code 
picked from the tracks by a receiver attached near the front axles and 


transmitted to an indicator in the motorman's cab. If the motorman 
fails to slow down within two and one-half seconds after a warning 
bell indicates a slower speed, the train automatically stops. 

80. Exponent of fine printing is the firm of TAYLOR AND TAY- 
LOR, 404 Mission St., established in 1896 by Edward DeWitt Taylor, 
who, since the death of his brother and co-partner (Henry H. Taylor) 
in 1937, remains sole owner. Types, Borders & Miscellany of Taylor 
&f Taylor, included in the American Institute of Graphic Arts' "Fifty 
Books of the Year" for 1940, has been described by Oscar Lewis as 
having a "classical simplicity of typographical design." Besides limited 
editions of Californiana, catalogs for art exhibits, and items for various 
cultural institutions, Taylor and Taylor are printers of much distinctive 
commercial advertising. Edward Taylor gained local fame for his work 
in the installation of the Denham cost-finding system among the print- 
ing trades of the Bay region. 

In the firm's composing room stands an ornamental Columbian hand 
press (1818), a reminder of Taylor's first printing venture in 1882: The 
Observer a journal "devoted to general literature and the interests ot 
the Western Addition." 

The firm's typographical library contains two centuries of European 
type specimens and examples of fine printing from the fifteenth century 
to the present. Included are such rare editions as the Kelmscott Chaucer 
from the press of William Morris and one of the world's most compre- 
hensive collections of the works of Homer. 

81. On wooden piles driven into the mud of what was Yerba Buena 
Cove rest the 17 steel-and-concrete stories of the PACIFIC GAS AND 
ELECTRIC BUILDING, 245 Market St., headquarters of the Na- 
tion's third largest utilities system, which originated with Peter Dona- 
hue's gas company (1852) and the California Electric Light Company 
(1879), both Pacific Coast pioneers. Designed by John M. Bakewell, 
the building was opened in March, 1925. Over the three-story arched 
entrance is Edgar Walter's bas-relief symbolizing the application of 
electric power to man's needs. The granite keystones of the first-story 
arches, carved by the same sculptor, represent the rugged mountain 
country whose rushing torrents have been tapped for hydroelectric 

82. Memorial to the company's founder, Swedish sea captain Wil- 
liam Matson, is the Viking vessel in bas-relief above the main entrance 
ING, 215 Market St. Into Hilo, Hawaii, in 1882, Matson sailed his 
2OO-ton schooner, the Emma Claudine. His line grew from one vessel 
to a great fleet of freighters transporting the sugar and the pineapple of 
the Islands to the Pacific Coast. When financial ties linked the Matson 
line with the "Big Five" who controlled Hawaiian sugar, the company 


achieved a monopoly of Hawaiian shipping. In 1925 its general man- 
ager, Matson's son-in-law, William P. Roth, built the $7,500,000 luxury 
liner, Malolo, to carry tourists to the Islands; began construction there 
of a luxury hotel, the Royal Hawaiian ; and inaugurated a Nation-wide 
advertising campaign to popularize "The Paradise of the Pacific." Hav- 
ing bought out two competing lines, he constructed three more liners 
the Lurline for the Hawaiian service and the Mariposa and Monterey 
for service to Australia and New Zealand. Beside the headquarters of 
the Matson shipping and real estate empire, the Matson Building houses 
the offices of four of the firms comprising the so-called "Big Five" which 
dominate finance, trade, transportation, and utilities of the Hawaiian 

83. The ten-story SOUTHERN PACIFIC BUILDING, 65 
Market St., constructed in 1917, is headquarters for the railroad system 
inaugurated by the "Big Four's" Central Pacific in 1869. The build- 
ing's 506,000 tons of steel and concrete (Bliss and Faville, architects) 
rest on 60 miles of cedar piling. It stands on the SITE OF THE PRE- 
PAREDNESS DAY PARADE BOMBING, where ten persons were killed July 
22, 1916, in an explosion which led to the conviction and imprisonment 
of Thomas Mooney and Warren K. Billings. 

Landmarks of the Old Town 

"Cities, like men, have their birth, growth and maturer years. 
Some are born Titans, and from the beginning promise to be 
mighty in their deeds, however wilful and destructive." 

The Annals of San Francisco (1852) 

THE MARVEL is not that so little but that so much of the city's 
venerable and homely architecture has escaped time's vicissitudes 
of which not the least was the fire of 1906. Recalling the 
great fire of 1851 in which the El Dorado gambling saloon was saved 
by the citizenry's desperate stand one may suppose that the area around 
Portsmouth Square was spared, less by a shift of wind, than by San 
Franciscans stubbornly defending the cradle of their traditions. Unlike 
the carefully preserved Vieux Carre of New Orleans, however, it sur- 
vives, not through care, but through sheer neglect. 

On the muddy shores of a little cove at the southeastern base of a 
rocky hill (Telegraph Hill), San Francisco was born. A short distance 
inland, Francisco de Haro marked out his Calle de la Fundacion, skirt- 
ing the shore on its way north-northwest over the hill toward the Pre- 
sidio (along the present Grant Avenue). Just north of Washington 
and Montgomery streets was an inlet from which the shoreline ran 
diagonally southeast to Rincon Hill (western terminus of the San Fran- 
cisco-Oakland Bay Bridge). From the rocky headland north of the 
inlet, first called Punta del Embarcadero and later Clark's Point (now 
the intersection of Battery Street and Broadway), William S. Clark 
built the first pile wharf in 1847. The line of anchorage was the pres- 
ent Battery Street, where the Russians loaded grain and meat for their 
Alaskan colonies, where the frigate Artemisia first French ship to enter 
the Bay anchored in 1827, and the San Luis first American warship 
to enter the harbor in 1841. When the warship Portsmouth dropped 
anchor July 8, 1846, Captain John B. Montgomery disembarked at 
what is now the southeast corner of Montgomery and Clay streets (see 
plaque on Bank of America Building, 552 Montgomery St.). The 
Plaza (later Portsmouth Square) was only 500 feet west of the water's 

West of the Plaza, facing the Calle de la Fundacion between the 
two cross streets (now Clay and Washington streets) which ran east- 
ward to the line of Montgomery Street along the water's edge, "the 
first tenement" (reports The Annals of San Francisco) had been "con- 
structed in the year 1835 by Captain W. R. Richardson, and up to the 



year 1846, there might not be more than twenty or thirty houses of all 
descriptions in the place." Richardson's dwelling (see plaque between 
823 and 827 Grant Avenue) was "a large tent, supported on four red- 
wood posts and covered with a ship's foresail." Near by on July 4, 
1836, Jacob Primer Leese completed Yerba Buena's first permanent 
dwelling "a rather grand structure, being made of frame sixty feet 
long and twenty-five feet broad." (The plaque at the southwest corner 
of Clay Street and Grant Avenue states incorrectly that here Leese 
"erected the first building in San Francisco," birthplace of "the first 
white child in San Francisco . . . April 15, 1838." The first building 
was erected at the Presidio in 1776, and the first white child was born 
at the site of Mission Dolores August 10, 1776.) Not to be outdone by 
Leese, Richardson erected his adobe "Casa Grande." 

Soon after United States conquest, Americans had built a sprawling 
town on the cove; by 1847 there were "22 shanties, 31 frame houses, 
and 26 adobe dwellings." City Engineer Jasper O'Farrell laid out the 
streets in checkerboard fashion, swinging De Haro's Calle de la Funda- 
cion into line with the north-and-south streets, and extending the town's 
limits far beyond the district surveyed by Jean Vioget in 1839 (bounded 
by Montgomery, Dupont, Pacific, and Sacramento Streets) westward 
to Leavenworth Street, north to Francisco, south to Post, and southeast 
beyond Market Street. The year 1848 marked the first building boom. 
According to The Annals of San Francisco, "A vacant lot ... was 
offered the day prior to the opening of the [Broadway] wharf for 
$5,000, but there were no buyers. The next day the same lot sold 
readily at $10,000." Long before lots could be surveyed, the area was 
"overspread with a multitude of canvas, blanket and bough covered 
tents, the bay was alive with shipping . . ." 

The community soon pushed eastward beyond the shore line, sup- 
porting itself with piles above the water and over rubble dumped into 
the tidal flats. Most of Commercial Street was then Long Wharf, built 
2,000 feet into the Bay from Leidesdorff Street in 1850. A narrow 
plank walk, connecting Long Wharf with the Sacramento Street pier, 
was the beginning of Sansome Street. Into abandoned ships, dragged 
inland and secured from the tides, moved merchants and lodgers. Of 
these vessels, perhaps the most famous was the windjammer Niantic 
one of the first to sail through the Golden Gate after 1849 abandoned 
by crew and passengers bound for the "diggin's." Doors were cut, the 
hold was partitioned into warehouses, and offices were built on deck. 
When the superstructure was destroyed by fire in 1851, the Niantic 
Hotel (replaced in 1872 by the Niantic Block) was erected on the site 
(see plaque at ~NW . corner Clay and Sansome Sts.). Among other 
vessels claimed were the General Harrison, at the northwest corner of 


Clay and Battery streets, and the Apollo, at the northwest corner of 
Sacramento and Battery streets. 

On Christmas Eve, 1849, fire destroyed the ramshackle city. By 
May 4, 1851, it had been burned five times. So reluctant were men to 
invest in San Francisco building enterprises that the East Bay enjoyed a 
tremendous growth. To restore local confidence, bankers and realtors 
combined to erect fire- and earthquake-proof buildings. First was the 
Parrott Block, built of granite blocks imported cut and dressed from 
China, on the present site of the Financial Center building at the north- 
west corner of Montgomery and California streets. Along Montgomery 
and adjoining streets arose a series of office buildings solid, dignified, 
well-proportioned which still remain. 

The life of the town for more than three decades revolved around 
San Francisco's first "Civic Center," Portsmouth Square the Plaza of 
Mexican days. At its northwest corner stood Yerba Buena's govern- 
ment building, the adobe Customhouse, where Captain John B. Mont- 
gomery quartered his troops in 1846. Authorized by the Mexican 
Government in 1844, the four-room, attic-crowned structure with 
veranda on three sides, was not finished at the time. Soon afterwards 
occupied by the alcalde and the tax collector, it became the seat of city 
government. (From the beams of the south veranda, in 1851, the first 
Vigilance Committee hanged the thief, John Jenkins.) At the behest 
of the newcomers from the Portsmouth, Captain John Vioget, the town's 
first surveyor, changed the name of his Vioget House, the town's first 
hotel, to Portsmouth House. In the bar and billiard saloon of the 
wooden building, at the southeastern corner of Clay and Kearny streets, 
hung Vioget's original map. Across the street on the southwest corner 
was the long, one-story adobe store and home of William Alexander 
Leidesdorff, the pioneer business man from the Danish West Indies, of 
mixed Negro and Danish blood, who was the American Vice-Consul 
under Mexican rule. At the first United States election held here on 
September 15, 1846, Lieutenant Washington A. Bartlett was chosen 
alcalde. Leidesdorff's house was transformed in November by John H. 
Brown into a hotel, later known as the City Hotel. On the west side 
of the square was built in 1847 the first public schoolhouse, which soon 
served also as jail, courthouse, church, and town hall, grandiloquently 
called the "Public Institute." 

Around Portsmouth Square clustered in the early i85o's the noisy 
saloons, theaters, and gambling houses of the city's first bawdy amuse- 
ment zone. Not only the first public schoolhouse and the first hotel, but 
also the first theater faced the plaza : Washington Hall, on Washington 
Street along the north side, where the city's first play was presented in 
January, 1850. In the same block were built the Monumental Engine 
House No. 6, and the Bella Union Melodeon. The famous Maguire's 


Opera House (see Social Heritage: Before the Footlights) rose on the 
east side of the square. To the east, on the site of the present Hall of 
Justice, were the rowdy Eldorado gambling house and the Parker 
House, which became the Jenny Lind Theatre in 1850 and the first 
permanent City Hall two years later. 

Today the cradle of old San Francisco is a half-mile inland. Its 
ageing landmarks, hemmed in by Chinatown and North Beach on the 
north and west, by the financial and commission districts on the south 
and east, are all but overlooked. Persistent indeed must be the observer 
who can discover the few remaining landmarks of the vanished village 
of Yerba Buena. 

Montgomery Street, the water front of '49, commercial artery of 
the roaring boom town, relaxed into a bohemian quarter long before 
1906; artists' studios still occupy buildings which housed journalists and 
bankers, gamblers and merchants and bartenders, miners and sailors and 
stagecoach qjivers. Realtors, printers, lawyers, and pawnbrokers occupy 
outmoded structures wherein their forbears speculated on fabulous 
"deals" in a boom era. Here, Chinese, Filipinos, Italians, Frenchmen, 
all sorts of Americans, still congregate and engage in business. But 
sailors from the seven seas gather no more on the slope of Portsmouth 

Something of the relative simplicity of the Argonauts not the gaudy 
pretentiousness of their bonanza successors survives in those old build- 
ings with square cornices and simple facades, whose cornerstones were 
laid upon redwood piling and filled-in land during 1849 and the early 
1 850*8. A few bronze plaques here and there are all that identify San 
Francisco's memorable landmarks of the Gold Rush era. A few names 
of defunct firms, in obscure letters across weatherbeaten facades, tell 
legends which only those knowing the city's lore may fully comprehend. 
A few steep and narrow streets, a quiet plaza, an odor of decay, and a 
few scattered relics are all that remain of that once crowded area. 


84. Upon the green, sloping lawns of PORTSMOUTH PLAZA, 
Kearny, Clay, and Washington Sts., Candelario Miramontes, who 
resided at the Presidio, raised potatoes in the early 1 830*5. When the 
plot became a plaza is not known. Until 1854, when it was graded and 
paved, it had been graced only with a speakers' platform and a cowpen. 
Most of the stirring events from the 1840'$ to the i86o's took place here 
processions, flag raisings, lynchings, May Day fetes. When news of 
the death of Henry Clay was received, all the buildings surrounding the 
plaza were draped in black. To hear Colonel E. D. Baker's funeral 
oration here for Senator David Broderick (fatally wounded in a duel 


September 13, 1859, by Judge David S. Terry) 30,000 people gathered. 
From 1850 to 1870 the square was headquarters for public hacks and the 
omnibus which ran from North Beach to South Park. In 1873 crowds 
gathered to gape at Andrew Hallidie's pioneer cable car climbing the 
hill on its first trip from the terminus at Clay and Kearny streets. 
Before 1880 the square ceased to be the center of civic gravity, as the 
business district moved south and west. Into abandoned buildings moved 
the Chinese on the west and north, the habitues of the Barbary Coast to 
the northeast, the residents of the Latin Quarter on the east. Here 
terrified Chinese ran about beating gongs to scare off the fire demons 
during the earthquake and conflagration of 1906; here came exhausted 
fire fighters to rest among milling refugees; here shallow graves held 
the dead; and thousands camped during reconstruction. The Board of 
Supervisors, in December, 1927, restored the square's Spanish designa- 
tion of "plaza." 

Under the boughs of three slender poplars stands the RQBERT Louis 
STEVENSON MONUMENT, the first shrine ever erected to the memory of 
the man who sought the sunshine here in 1879. A simple granite shaft 
surmounted by a bronze galleon in full sail, the Hispaniola of Treasure 
Island (Bruce Porter, architect; George Piper, sculptor), the monu- 
ment is inscribed with an excerpt from Stevenson's "Christmas Sermon." 
Around it are clumps of purple Scotch heather. 

Near the square's northwest corner, the MONTGOMERY FLAG POLE 
marks the site on which Captain John B. Montgomery first raised the 
United States flag, July 9, 1846. Erected in 1924 by the Daughters of 
the American Revolution, it has at its base a plaque inscribed in com- 
memoration of the event. 

85. On historic ground stands the HALL OF JUSTICE, SE. cor- 
ner Kearny and Washington Sts., facing Portsmouth Plaza. Here stood 
the famous Eldorado gambling house, and here, too, was Dennison's 
Exchange Saloon, where the first official Democratic Party meeting was 
held October 25, 1849, and where the first of the city's fires broke out 
two months later. Destroyed in this fire, the Parker House next door, 
built by Robert A. Parker and John H. Brown, was rebuilt only to be 
twice burned again. Destroyed a third time in 1851, the year after 
Thomas Maguire had converted it into the Jenny Lind Theater, it was 
reconstructed. When a fifth fire reduced it to ashes in the same year, it 
was replaced by the third Jenny Lind Theater, built of stone. This the 
city purchased in 1852 for a City Hall (see Civic Center), to which it 
annexed the four-story building on the site of the Eldorado for a Hall 
of Records. Razed in 1895, tne two buildings were replaced by the 
first Hall of Justice, which in turn was replaced after 1906 by the 
present somber gray-stone structure (Newton J. Tharp, architect), 


housing the city police department and courts, Superior Court criminal 
division, city prison, and morgue. 

S. on Kearny St. to Commercial St., E. from Kearny on Commecrial. 

86. "To take some worthy works that are in danger of extinction 
and perpetuate them in suitable form" is the aim of the GRAB HORN 
PRESS, 642 Commercial St., as stated by Edwin Grabhorn. Since 
1919 he and his brother Robert whom the English book expert, George 
Jones, has declared the world's greatest printers have been issuing 
their rare and valuable books in San Francisco. Of the books which 
first gave them renown, their edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of 
Grass, illustrated with Valenti Angelo's woodcuts, is especially remem- 
bered. They have reproduced such items as New Helvetia. Diary. A 
record of events kept by John A. Suiter 2 his clerks, at New Helvetia, 
California, from September 9, 184$ to May 25, 1848 (1939); and 
Naval Sketches of the War in California, reproducing 28 drawings 
made in 1846-47 by William H. Meyers, gunner on the U.S. Sloop-of- 
war Dale (1939). Each year since 1919, at least one of their books 
(in 1939, three) has been chosen by the American Institute of Graphic 
Arts as one of the 50 best books published in the United States. The 
ground-floor office of the old two-story brick building is a repository of 
Grabhorn publications and historic photographs, prints, and posters dat- 
ing from Gold Rush days. 

87. The massive first-story walls of the UNITED STATES SUB- 
TREASURY BUILDING, 608 Commercial St., erected in 1875-77 
earthquake, fire, and dynamite. Of the original structure's three stories 
of red brick, erected over the mint's steel-lined vaults, only the first 
remains, now roofed over, its square red-brick columns crowned by 
weathered gray curlicues. The basement houses still the old vaults with 
their steel-lined walls and intricate locks. 

Here, in what was the young city's financial district, the United 
States Government in 1852 purchased the property of Curtiss, Ferry 
and Ward, Assayers, for $335,000, and reconstructed the building as a 
fireproof, three-story brick structure. On April 3, 1854 San Francisco's 
first mint was opened, equipped to issue $100,000 worth of currency 
daily. By 1887 San Francisco had coined $242,000,000 almost half as 
much money as the Philadelphia mint had issued since 1793. As early 
as 1859, the first mint proved to be far too small; and, finally, the old 
building was razed, following completion of a second mint, in 1874. 

In 1877 the new United States Subtreasury was opened on the site 
of the first mint. In April, 1906, the structure was dynamited in an 
effort to halt the flames. Unshaken by the blast, the 3O-inch-thick 


first-story walls also withstood the fire, as did the basement vaults, 
which were crammed with $13,000,000 in gold. When, in 1915, 
the subtreasury was moved to its new building on the site of the San 
Francisco Stock Exchange, the old building was taken over by private 

88. At the heart of the old financial center stands the B. DAVID- 
SON BUILDING, NW. corner Montgomery and Commercial Sts., 



CHINATOWN Points of Interest ll 
OLD TOWN Points of Interest ((90 

whose first story was built soon after the fire of May 4, 1851 for 
merchant William D. M. Howard. A few years later, two more stories 
were added. On the walls of the first-floor tobacco shop are pictures of 
the structure taken in Gold Rush days. The iron vaults, where pioneer 
bankers stored their treasure, remain in the basement so stoutly con- 
structed that they long defied attempts to open them for the present 

In excavating a sewer along the Commercial Street side, in 1854, 
workmen uncovered a coffin with a glass-covered aperture in its lid, 


through which could be discerned a man's features. A coroner's exam- 
ination revealed that the man was Hudson's Bay Company's agent, 
William Glenn Rae, son-in-law of Chief Factor John McLoughlin. 
Arriving at Yerba Buena in August, 1841, Rae opened his post in the 
store room, with $10,000 worth of goods. To rebels against Governor 
Manuel Micheltorena in 1844, he furnished $15,000 worth of stores 
and munitions. Worried over collapse of the revolt and fearing punish- 
ment, Rae took to drinking heavily. On January 19, 1845 he shot him- 
self. He was buried in the garden outside his house. 

When the Americans took California in 1846, the Hudson's Bay 
Company sold its property to the merchants and realtors, Mellus, How- 
ard and Company. Seeing a prosperous future for San Francisco, the 
Rothschilds of London authorized Benjamin Davidson to open an agency 
for their banking firm. Of the five banking firms which, according to 
the Annals of San Francisco, were operating in the city at the end of 

1849, three were situated on Leese's old loo-vara frontage Davidson; 
Thomas Wells and Company; and James King of William. Early in 

1850, when Long Wharf opened into Montgomery Street, the Hudson's 
Bay Company's old post was the United States Hotel. 

When all of the old building but Leese's original adobe kitchen was 
destroyed by fire in 1851, William Howard had the room roofed with 
Australian bricks by Chinese laborers. Soon Howard erected a new 
brick structure (now the first story of the present B. Davidson Build- 
ing), into which moved the Rothschilds' agent. 

N. from Commercial St. on Montgomery St. 

89. Oldest business building in San Francisco is the BOLTON 
AND BARRON BUILDING, NW. corner Montgomery and Mer- 
chant Sts., a three-story fortress-like edifice, with rusty iron fire-escapes 
hanging wearily from its flat roof. Built in 1849, its brick and cast-iron 
walls withstood successive fires. Today, geraniums peep from boxes in 
the deep-set windows of upper-floor studio apartments, and a gaudy 
black-tile facade adorns the ground-floor tavern. 

90. "Halleck's Folly" and "The Floating Fortress," people called 
the four-story MONTGOMERY BLOCK, Montgomery, Merchant, 
and Washington Sts., when Henry W. Halleck (later General-in-chief 
of the Union Army) began building it in 1853. Wiseacres predicted it 
either would sink into the ooze of the tidelands or float across the Bay 
on its foundation of redwood logs. But the structure is still in good 
repair, though shorn of its heavy iron shutters, the carved portrait heads 
which adorned its facade, and the wrought-iron balcony which ran 
along its second story. 

Conceiving of a building constructed upon military lines, Halleck 


consulted architect G. P. Cummings; together they drew up a design 
combining the principles of the fortress with those of the Florentine 
court: four connecting buildings around a courtyard. The four build- 
ings were then linked by wrought-iron bands and adjustable turnbuckles 
inserted between the floor levels. The building defied every accepted 
principle of construction. 

Dedicated as the Washington Block on December 23, 1853, it was 
the largest building on the Pacific Coast. It was popularly called the 
Montgomery Block, and its builders officially changed the name the 
following year. Within the year it was San Francisco's legal center, 
housing the city's first law library. Most of the Adams Express Com- 
pany's gold bullion was placed in the basement vaults. The second floor 
housed a huge billiard parlor. Here were the offices of the Pacific and 
Atlantic Railroad, of the United States Engineers Corps, of the Alta 
California and the Daily Herald. For 30 years, the block housed the 
portion of Adolph Sutro's library (now in the San Francisco Public 
Library) that escaped the 1906 fire. 

As James King of William lay dying in one of the rooms in 1856, 
prominent citizens organized the Vigilance Committee that hanged his 
assassin, James P. Casey. King was shot in front of the Bank Exchange 
Saloon on the ground floor, where brokers did business until establish- 
ment of a stock exchange in 1862. 

On that April morning in 1906, when flames were bearing down 
upon the block, soldiers stood powder kegs against the walls, ready to 
blast a fire-break. Oliver Perry Stidger, agent for the building, begged 
them to wait, appealing to their civic pride in an impassioned speech. 
Soon the danger had passed. Since this was the only downtown office 
building undamaged by the fire, it again became a center of business 

In the 1 890*5 various artists of the West had begun setting up their 
studios in the Montgomery Block. With them came Frank Norris, 
Kathleen and Charles Norris, George Sterling, and Charles Caldwell 
Dobie. Known affectionately as the "Monkey Block" today, the old 
building consists largely of offices converted into studios. 

91. The SHIP BUILDING, 716-18-20 Montgomery St., sup- 
posedly owes its origin to the gold-seeking master and crew of the Geor- 
gean, who deserted her in the spring of '49. The schooner lay aban- 
doned in the mud near Sansome Street, her cargo of Kentucky "Twist" 
(chewing tobacco) and New Orleans cotton molding and unsold, until 
a speculator claimed salvage rights and beached her on the present site. 
Today the supposed "foc'sle head" of the old schooner houses a Chinese 
laundry and a plumbing shop ; the second floor, artist's studios. 

92. Gay blades haunted the MELODEON THEATER BUILD- 
ING, 722-24 Montgomery St., awaiting companions for a "bird-and- 


bottle" supper. Opening December 15, 1857, the Melodeon drew sea- 
faring men and miners, who delighted in its musical and minstrel 
shows. After the Melodeon closed about 1858, the hall was rented 
infrequently to various groups. Here in 1883, according to Disturnell's 
Strangers' Guide to San Francisco and Vicinity, was the "extensive 
bathing establishment of Dr. Justin Gates. . . . Special apartments have 
been nicely fitted up for ladies and families." 

93. San Francisco's oldest sign, hanging from the GENELLA 
BUILDING, 728 Montgomery St., states in faded black and gold 
letters that "H. and W. Pierce . . . Loans and Commissions" once did 
business here, exchanging paper and coins for gold bullion. The struc- 
ture was built about 1854 by Joseph Genella, who dealt in chinaware in 
an upstairs room. On the second floor the International Order of Odd 
Fellows had its first hall, where Yerba Buena Lodge No. 15 met every 
Thursday evening. Since the early 1920*5, the second floor has housed 
PERRY DILLEY'S PUPPET THEATER, which presents an annual season 
of performances, beginning usually in April. Dilley creates all of his 
own figures, designs and paints his sets, writes the musical scores, and 
re-writes classical and modern plays to suit his medium. 

94. Named for the first of San Francisco's literary periodicals, the 
GOLDEN ERA BUILDING, 732-34 Montgomery St., housed on its 
second floor for more than two years the weekly established in Decem- 
ber, 1852, by youthful J. Macdonough Foard and Rollin M. Daggett 
(see Golden Era: Argonauts of Letters}. Its circulation among a Gold 
Rush populace, starved for reading matter, grew enormously. A "weekly 
family paper," it was devoted to "Literature, Agriculture, The Mining 
Interest, Local and Foreign News, Commerce, Education, Morals, and 
Amusements." On March I, 1857, appeared a poem by an unknown 
author, "The Valentine" first preserved published work of Bret Harte. 
Among other contributors were Ina Coolbrith, Thomas Starr King, 
Joaquin Miller, Mark Twain, and Charles Warren Stoddard. It sur- 
vived nearly four decades. Beneath the Era's original offices, on the 
ground floor, was Vernon's Hall, rented to fraternal societies and 
theatrical troupes; today it houses a Chinese broom factory. The Eras 
old rooms are now artists' studios. 

95. Disguised beneath its cream stucco finish and its gay red and 
corner Montgomery and Jackson Sts., now occupied by an Italian 
restaurant, is the same structure that was erected in 1853 by the pioneer 
merchants and bankers, F. L. A. Pioche and J. B. Bayerque. It stands 
on the SITE OF THE FIRST BRIDGE, a sturdy wooden structure the 
town's first public improvement which alcalde William Sturgis 
Hinckley constructed in 1844, o yer the long-vanished slough connecting 
the Laguna Salada (Sp., salty lagoon) with the Bay, thus enabling 


people to cross to Clarke's Point. In the Pioche and Bayerque Building 
were housed the offices of the city's first street railroad, of which both 
Pioche and Bayerque were directors. Horses drew the first car up 
Market Street on July 4, 1860 (soon replaced by steam). 

96. Not since 1857 has the LUCAS, TURNER AND COM- 
PANY BANK BUILDING, NE. corner Montgomery and Jackson 
Sts., housed banking offices. When the firm of Lucas, Turner and 
Company, a branch of a St. Louis bank, desired property on which to 
erect its own building in 1853, William Tecumseh Sherman, then the 
resident manager and a partner in the firm, found (he later wrote) that 
"the only place then available on Montgomery Street, the Wall Street 
of San Francisco, was a lot . . . 60x62 feet . . ." For this he paid 
$32,000, then contracted for "a three-story brick building, with finished 
basement, for about $50,000." As manager of the new institution, 
Sherman was overprudent. He refused to allow the occasional over- 
drafts his depositors demanded and declined to grant credit except on 
the soundest securities. Finally in 1857 the bank closed. 

W ' . from Montgomery St. on Jackson St. to Columbus Ave.; NW. from 
Jackson on Columbus to Pacific St.; E. from Columbus on Pacific. 

97. The "Terrific Street" of the i89o's that block of Pacific 
Street, SITE OF THE BARBARY COAST, running east from the 
once-famous "Seven Points" where Pacific, Columbus Avenue, and 
Kearny Street intersect is set off now at each end by concrete arches 
Coast it was known round the world for half a century, more notorious 
than London's Limehouse, Marseilles' water front, or Port Said's Arab 
Town. The enterprise of Pierino Gavello, restaurateur and capitalist, 
is today's "International Settlement," developed in 1939, streamlined 
with the stucco facades and gleaming windows. Where gambling halls, 
saloons, beer dens, dance halls, and brothels once crowded side by side, 
a Chinese restaurant, a night club and cocktail bar, a Latin American 
cafe, and an antique shop now appear. 

One resort of the old "Coast" remains in business TAR'S, 592 
Pacific St., the former Parente's saloon (newly painted and decorated), 
whose walls are still plastered from floor to ceiling with Parente's 
famous collection of prize-fight pictures including champions from 
James Figg, bare-knuckle artist of 1719, to Joe Louis, 1940 title holder. 

"Give it a wide berth, as you value your life," warned the New 
Overland Tourist of Barbary Coast in 1878, describing "the precise 
locality, so that our readers may keep away." Since the i86o's it had 
worn the name Barbary Coast, derived probably from sailors' memories 
of the dives of North Africa. But even in the early i85o's, when the 


neighborhood was Sydney Town, inhabited by Australian outlaws 
known as "Sydney Ducks," the "upper part of Pacific Street, after 
dark" reported the San Francisco Herald "was crowded by thieves, 
gamblers, low women, drunken sailors and similar characters . . .' 
The block bounded by Kearny, Montgomery, and Broadway was known 
as Devil's Acre, and its Kearny Street side as Battle Row (here stood 
the Slaughterhouse, later renamed the Morgue). The district con- 
tributed a new word, "hoodlum," applying it to the young ruffians who 
roamed the "Coast" armed with bludgeons, knives, or iron knuckles (it 
is thought that the word comes from "huddle 'em!" the cry of the boys 
as they advanced on a victim). So too the expression "to shanghai" 
originated here. 

The employment of women in the "Coast's" resorts was strictly 
forbidden by law as early as 1869, but the "Coast" paid no heed. 
Besides the brothels of three types cribs, cow-yards, and parlor houses, 
all advertised by red lights and some even by signboards the district 
contained call houses, cheap lodgings patronized by street-walkers, 
bagnios over saloons and dance-halls, where variety show performers 
entertained between acts. Among the most renowned of the "Coast's" 
attractions in the 1870*5 were the "Little Lost Chicken," a diminutive 
girl who concluded her songs by bursting into tears (and picked the 
pockets of her admirers) ; the "Waddling Duck," an immensely fat 
woman; "Lady Jane Grey," who decked herself in a cardboard coronet, 
convinced she was of noble birth ; the "Dancing Heifer" and the "Gal- 
loping Cow," whose sister act made the boards of the stage creak. 
"Cowboy Maggie" Kelly, a large blond known as "The Queen of the 
Barbary Coast," was proprietress, and bouncer, of the Cowboy's Rest. 

Wiped out in 1906, the Barbary Coast was revived for another 
decade of gaudy life. "The quarter did what every courtesan does who 
finds her charms and her following on the wane," wrote Charles Cald- 
well Dobie. "It decided to capitalize its previous reputation, buy a new 
false front and an extra pot of rouge. The result was a tough quarter 
maintained largely for the purpose of shocking tourists from the Chatau- 
qua circuit." Almost every dance hall put on a good show for the 
benefit of gaping visitors in "slummers' galleries." "Take me to see the 
Barbary Coast," said John Masefield and he was taken, as was nearly 
every other visiting celebrity, including Sarah Bernhardt and Anna 

"The most famous, as well as the most infamous" of the resorts, 
reminisced photographer Arnold Genthe, "was the Olympia, a vast 
'palace' of gilt and tinsel with a great circular space in the center and 
around it a raised platform with booths for spectators . . . Below us 
on the floor ... a medley of degenerate humanity whirled around us 
in weird dance steps." Of the same description was the Midway (down- 


stairs at 587 Pacific Street) a training ground for vaudeville acts its 
walls decorated with large murals by an unknown Italian artist. 

The Seattle Concert Hall (574 Pacific Street), later known as 
Spider Kelly's, first important resort to reopen after the fire, won local 
fame for its "key racket." On the promise of keeping a rendezvous 
after work, the dance-hall girls sold, for five dollars, the keys to their 
rooms; the dupes wandered about until morning, vainly seeking doors 
their keys would fit. The "slummers' gallery" of the Hippodrome 
(570 Pacific Street) was crowded nightly by visitors. Chief claim to 
fame of the Moulin Rouge (540 Pacific Street) were Arthur Putnam's 
sculptured panels on its facade, depicting figures of complete nudity 
until churchwomen forced the sculptor to drape the ladies. 

No resort was better-known than Lew Purcell's So Different Saloon 
(520 Pacific Street), a Negro dance hall, where the "Turkey Trot" is 
said to have originated. The Thalia (5141/2 Pacific Street), on whose 
immense rectangular floor the "Texas Tommy" was first danced, lured 
patrons with a sidewalk band concert every evening. The Thalia's 
piece de resistance was hootclty-kootchy dancer Eva Rowland. 

But the Barbary Coast's assets as a tourist attraction did not out- 
weigh its liabilities as a crime center. The Police Commission's revoca- 
tion of dance-hall licenses in 1913 was a hard blow, but the "Coast" 
recovered, and two years later licenses had to be revoked again. The 
Thalia went on operating as a dancing academy. Once more liquor 
permits were cancelled. As late as 1921, Police Chief Daniel J. O'Brien 
thought it necessary to forbid slumming parties in the area but the 
Barbary Coast was dead. 

S. from Pacific St. on Montgomery St. to Jackson St.; E. fro?n Mont- 
gomery on Jackson. 

98. Once noted for its paintings and well-stocked library, the iron- 
shuttered HOTALING BUILDING, SE. corner Jackson St. and 
Hotaling PL, housed the warehouses and stables of the Hotaling dis- 
tillery. Narrow Hotaling Place, running south to Washington Street, 
was known as Jones' Alley between 1847 a d 1910. Loaded drays 
rumbled over the planked street to the Broadway wharf; heavily 
guarded express coaches of the Wells Fargo and Company bore their 
cargoes to sailing ships; and under the dim gaslights silk-hatted dandies 
waited in hansom cabs for the beauties from the Melodeon. The 
Hotaling Building survived the fire of 1906 almost unscathed. 

99. The hulls of abandoned ships were piled into the mud flats of 
Jackson Slough to make solid footing for the three-story brick PHOE- 
NIX BUILDING, SW. corner Jackson and Sansome Sts., which from 
1858 to 1895 housed the factory of Domingo Ghirardelli, pioneer choco- 


late manufacturer (see Rim of the Golden Gate). Survivor of the 
1906 fire, it hides its smoked and weathered facade under a thick coat 
of buff paint. 

S. from Jackson St. on Sansome St. 

100. Reared from the mud on a brick and pile foundation, GOV- 
ERNMENT HOUSE, NW. corner Sansome and Washington Sts., 
was constructed some time before 1853, when it was known as Armory 
Hall. The Golden Era in February of that year carried an advertise- 
ment of "Buckley's Original New Orleans Serenaders." Known there- 
after as the Olympic Theater, the hall led, according to the Annals of 
San Francisco, "a brief and sickly existence." After 1860, the building 
appeared in city directories as the "Government House Lodgings." For 
a time Adolph Sutro lived in one of its furnished rooms. 

Still illuminated by gas, Government House shows its age. The 
first floor was forced underground when Sansome Street was regraded 
early in the present century ; its basement rooms are now entered through 
narrow stairways leading from iron trap doors in the sidewalk. Shorn 
of its once ornate cornices, which began to crumble, the facade is shabby, 
its faded green paint and grey plaster cracked and peeling. 

The oldest drugstore in the city, ALEXANDER McBoYLE AND 
COMPANY, still housed on the ground floor of Government House, was 
opened in 1866. McBoyle, although not a dentist, managed to fill a 
window of his curious shop waist-deep with the extracted teeth of sea- 
farers. Grateful seamen repaid with curios and treasures from other 
lands and with ship models, painstakingly carved and fitted. While 
other druggists beckoned to the public with green and red globes, Mc- 
Boyle drew three times the trade with a display of model ships sailing 
in the sea of teeth. He compounded for years the bulk of medicines 
shipped to the Orient. The present owners have retained a few faded 
pictures of sailing ships, and they sell Alexander McBoyle's "Abolition 
Oil," to alleviate sprains and bruises, mixed according to the original 

101. Oldest structure still used by the Federal Government in San 
Francisco is the five-story brick and wrought-iron UNITED STATES 
APPRAISERS BUILDING, Sansome, Jackson, and Washington Sts., 
erected (1874-81) as one of the Army Engineer Corps' most boasted 
construction achievements. Here, until after 1850, the tides lapped at 
the narrow row of piles marking the line of present Sansome Street. 
"Upon the head of these piles," recalled Barry and Patten, "was nailed 
a narrow plank walk . . . without rail or protection of any kind ... 
pedestrians passed and repassed in the dark, foggy nights, singing and 


rollicking, as unconcernedly as if their path was broad Market 
Street . . ." 

On piles projecting eastward from what is now the corner of San- 
some and Washington streets stood the wooden shanty where in August, 
1850, Pedar Sather and Edward W. Church joined nine months later 
by Francis M. Drexel of Philadelphia opened a bank. When fire 
destroyed the structure, their safe fell into the water; it was fished up, 
however, and installed in a new building at the end of Long Wharf. 
(The only bank in the city founded as early as 1850 to see the twentieth 
century, it was reorganized in 1897 as tne San Francisco National Bank 
and finally absorbed by the Bank of California in 1920.) 

Into the blue mud of the old cove bottom, Army engineers in 1874 
began driving 8o-foot piles, over which they laid a seven-foot thickness 
of "rip-rapped" concrete. On this foundation they erected the three- 
foot-thick walls of the Appraisers Building. The roof, fabricated of 
wrought iron in the manner of a truss bridge, rested on the outside 
walls, supporting a heavy slate covering. The 90 offices had hardwood 
doors and bronze hardware. The hydraulic elevator with ornately 
carved cage, installed in 1878, the first passenger elevator on the Pacific 
Coast, is still in use. 

Having survived the 1906 earthquake, the building was threatened 
by the fire but saved by the Navy. From two tugs anchored below 
Washington Street, sea water was pumped through fire lines to save the 
old structure. In 1909, mud began to ooze from beneath its founda- 
tions into a sewer excavation along Sansome Street; the southwest 
corner sank 1 1 inches, but the structure remained intact. 

In the Appraisers Building, dutiable imports were appraised and 
stored for payment of duty until 1940, when the structure was ordered 
razed to make way for a new 1 5-story building. 

E. from Sansome St. on Washington St. to Battery St.; N. from Wash- 
ington on Battery. 

9-4:30), Battery, Washington, and Jackson Sts., has occupied this site 
for more than 75 years; but the block-long, five-story edifice of Raymond 
granite, its interior resplendent with marble and oak, erected (1906-11) 
at a cost of $1,600,000, is a far cry from the three-story customhouse 
and post office, built of cement-plastered brick in 1854, which stood 
here until 1903. The town's first customhouse on the Plaza was aban- 
doned in 1849; it survived its porch railings carved by the jacknives 
of Yankee newcomers until 1851, outlasting the second, William 
Heath Davis' four-story structure with its white-painted balconies, to 
which the collector of the port had removed his offices. 


From the ruins of this second customhouse, nearly $1,000,000 in 
specie was rescued from a large safe, which had preserved it from the 
flames. The removal of the treasure by the collector of the customs, T. 
Butler King, "created some little excitement and much laughter," as the 
Annals of San Francisco reported. "Some thirty gigantic, thick-bearded 
fellows, who were armed with carbines, revolvers and sabres, surrounded 
the cars containing the specie, while the Honorable T. Butler King 
stood aloft on a pile of ruins with a huge 'Colt' in one hand and a 
bludgeon in the other . . . The extraordinary procession proceeded 
slowly . . . Mr. King marching, like a proud drum-major, at the head 
. . . peals of laughter and cries of ironical applause accompanied the 
brave defenders of 'Uncle Sam's' interests to the end of their perilous 
march. , , ." 


"Wherever, in any channel of the Seven Seas, two world-wan- 
derers met and talked about the City of Many Adventures, China- 
town ran like a thread through their reminiscences." 


A QUARTER of old Canton, transplanted and transformed, 
neither quite oriental nor wholly occidental, San Francisco's 
Chinatown yields to the ways of the West while continuing to 
venerate a native civilization as ancient as the Pyramids. Grant Ave- 
nue, its main thoroughfare, leads northward from Bush Street through 
a veritable city-within-a-city alien in appearance to all the rest of San 
Francisco hemmed within boundaries kept by tacit agreement with 
municipal authorities for almost a century. 

Chinatown enjoys a measure of civil autonomy unique among San 
Francisco's foreign sections. Though police protection, public education, 
and public health are directed by municipal authorities, local affairs are 
controlled largely by the powerful Chinese Six Companies. Labor rela- 
tions, family regulation, traditional customs, and commercial activities 
are the province of this unusual body. 

Along Grant Avenue bright display windows, neon signs, and glazed 
tile form a foreground wholly modern for merchandise which conforms 
to the age-old pattern of China's craftsmen. The street's smart cocktail 
lounges defy ancestral gods by adding American swing to the induce- 
ments of oriental atmosphere and native waitresses in brocaded gowns; 
its fashionable cafes, while they serve genuine native foods, advertise 
more familiar dishes. Beneath the pagoda-like cornices, electric chop 
suey signs perpetuate the popular notion that this dish, imported from 
the Atlantic seaboard, is something more exotic than its name the 
Chinese word for hash indicates. Side by side with curio shops offer- 
ing inexpensive articles of oriental design are bazaars, wherein the 
discerning may buy objects genuine and costly. Within recent years, 
however, many sources of supply have been cut off by the Japanese 
occupation of China. Scattered along Grant Avenue also are Japanese- 
owned shops that sell goods manufactured in Japan. 

Grant Avenue's commercial area is only the bland and somewhat 
cynical face the settlement turns to the world. More oriental are the 
avenue's northern reaches and the streets that run crosswise from Nob 
Hill to Chinatown's eastern boundary, Kearny Street. Along these 
congested sidewalks, among cheap shops and restaurants, are the market 



places whose distinctive sounds and odors give Chinatown its atmosphere 
of the unchanging East. A curious bazaar of foodstuffs are the poultry 
markets, the displays of dried and pickled fish, and the odoriferous tubs 
of snails along the curbstones. Roast ducks packed in rice ; roast ducks 
from Canton, glazed with a salty wax many of them flattened as if 
starched and ironed hang in golden rows in grocery stores ; and beside 
them are whole hogs steaming hot from the barbecue pits from which 
portions are cut and sent to Chinatown's dinner tables. Eels and octopi, 
shark, and other unusual sea foods are displayed in the many fish mar- 
kets. Bakery windows are crowded with cakes of almost limitless 
variety, of which even the most common are decorative and of evasive 
flavor. The vegetables of Chinatown are a marvel to the stranger: 
string beans slender as blades of grass and 12 to 14 inches long; peas 
with sweet, tender edible pods; and many Chinese greens. Bitter melons 
to be added to soups, fuzzy melons resembling cactus fruit, bamboo 
shoots, bean sprouts, and lotus roots hang festooned in market windows. 
The artistry of the oriental cook is nowhere in the Western world 
better demonstrated than in San Francisco's Chinatown. In the numer- 
ous and inexpensive little Chinese restaurants that crowd the slopes of 
Jackson, Clay, and Washington streets above and below Grant Avenue, 
the occidental dines with relish on the meats and vegetables he has looked 
upon with disfavor in the markets around the corner. 

About half Chinatown's population of 16,000 are immigrants from 
the mother country, many of whom still cling to the ancient customs 
and ancestral religion. Amid the modern throng appear in diminishing 
number those who still conform to the age-old styles of dress. Little old 
women pass by, their shiny black hair brushed tightly back and knotted, 
their black pantaloons showing beneath black gowns; and benign old 
men in loose jackets and black skullcaps. The upper-class women of 
the old generation reveal their bound feet the "golden lilies" of Chinese 
literature beneath the long narrow native costume covered by a coat 
of American make. Upon rare occasions, dignified Chinese gentlemen 
gracefully thread their way through the crowded streets in elegant 
custom-tailored attire, leisurely wielding fans. 

Young Chinatown preserves its language and the more democratic 
of its national customs, while adopting the dress, the slang, and the 
commercial methods of its American compatriots. Grant Avenue is its 
creation. The shops of its elders, where the abacus is still used for 
calculation, are being forced to the side-streets. Even the little wall- 
shops, where for generations dreamy-eyed old men sitting in the sun 
have reluctantly bestirred themselves to sell occasional bags of candied 
melon, ginger, or lichee nuts, are being taken over by alert youngsters, 
who have stocked these narrow tables and outdoor shelves with souvenirs 
for the tourist. 


The children of Chinatown, most modern element of all, are benefit- 
ing most by the inroads of the West. Education is one of the colony's 
primary interests. Besides its regular public grade school, Chinatown 
has a dozen or more public and private schools. The children, expert 
negotiators of traffic, scamper in small bands from sidewalk to sidewalk 
on shopping tours for their parents. Children of the poorer families 
swarm the sidewalks nightly, armed with shoe-shine kits. Many of the 
older boys spend their evenings at the Chinese Y.M.C.A. ; and many of 
the girls (whose families allow them to accept modern ways), at the 
Y.W.C.A. Chinese youth of both sexes frequent the various family 
clubs. Fong-Fong's on Grant Avenue (a soda fountain, lunchroom, 
and bakery) is a widely patronized "Joe-College" hangout. 

Old Chinatown watches with silent disapproval the departure of its 
youth and its children from the ancient customs, brought here from 
Canton and preserved inviolate for three-quarters of a century. And 
Chinatown's elders still maintain customs of oriental feudalism, long 
since abandoned throughout China. 

Though practically every religion has built churches and gained 
adherents here, the native Chinese temples, or joss houses, are still 
centers of Chinatown's spiritual life. (The word "joss" is a corruption 
of Diosj Portuguese word for God, which the Cantonese learned from 
early Portuguese traders at Macao.) Many of the furnishings have a 
history intimately associated with the Chinese immigration, during the 
Gold Rush, to this land they called Gum Sahn (Golden Hills). 

Barometers of public sentiment in Chinatown are the sidewalk 
bulletins before the shops of its five newspapers. If the oblong strips of 
Chinese characters denote light news of local interest, a lively chattering 
ensues; but let the bulletins be of more serious import, concerned per- 
haps with events in their embattled homeland, and silence settles over 
the groups of 50 or more, as each man reads and goes his way without 
a word of comment. 

The one ancient festival in which all Chinatown is united annually 
is the Chinese New Year, celebrated according to the lunar calendar 
and the ancient philosophy of Tung-Fang-So on the first day of the 
new moon after the sun enters the sign of Aquarius (between January 
20 and February 20). This is the occasion to propitiate the gods and 
banish the evil spirits abroad each Yuen Tan (New Year's Day). It 
is also the season for the cancellation of debts, during which failure to 
meet obligations is considered a confession of inability to do so. 

The first day of the new year, Yuen Jih (Day of Beginnings), often 
is called the "Three Beginnings" the start of the year, of the month, 
and of the season. On the eve of Yuen Jih, joyous throngs crowd the 
streets of Chinatpwn. Gay lanterns sway in a blue haze of gunpowder 
smoke; a barrage of firecrackers continues far into the night. Houses 


must be cleaned thoroughly before midnight; then brooms are hidden 
until dark of the following day for sweeping during the ensuing day- 
light hours brushes all luck out of the house for the entire year. No 
one sleeps on New Year's Eve; even the youngest children are awake 
until two or three o'clock in the morning. Incense burns throughout 
the colony to invite the good spirits. 

The only food served on this birthday of Confucius is gai gum choy, 
a meatless stew eaten after one o'clock in the morning of the Day of 
Beginnings, and oranges, which have been arranged in perfect pyramids 
for days in anticipation. Throughout New Year week the children of 
the household will be unusually dutiful, for this is the season of the "red 
package." These packages, wrapped in red paper and containing silver 
coins, all unmarried children regardless of age are entitled to receive 
from each visitor to the home. 

On the second day of the new year, as on the first, no meat is served, 
for this day is dedicated to worship of Ta'ai Shen (God of Wealth). 
But from the third day onward, feasting and merrymaking are un- 
restrained, as pastries, sweet cakes, and candies are set out to satisfy the 
proverbial Kitchen God when he makes his annual report on family 

The festivities end usually on the seventh day (Day of Human 
Beginnings) with the Dance of the Dragon. Unless events worthy of 
a highly spectacular celebration have occurred during the year, the Lion 
of Buddha substitutes for the traditional dragon. The lion requires but 
two men to operate; the dragon, trailing innumerable yards of tinsel 
and colored silk, must be borne along Grant Avenue on the stooping 
shoulders of from 10 to 50 persons. Since its first appearance here in 
1850, the dragon has been Chinatown's official protector. Homes and 
stores are decorated with green vegetables and red packages to attract 
his attention, for where he dances prosperity remains throughout the 
year. As the glittering monster weaves his way from sidewalk to side- 
walk, coins, wrapped in lettuce leaves or red papers and suspended from 
doors and windows by strings, are snatched by an alert hand that darts 
from beneath the dragon's gaping jaws. 

Chinatown today is the Chinatown that was rebuilt after 1906; the 
dim, narrow alleys so famed in melodrama are as safe now as brightly 
lighted Grant Avenue. But it occupies still little more than the cramped 
space in which the Chinese of Gold Rush days settled. The American 
brig Eagle, in the spring of 1848, brought San Francisco's first three 
Chinese immigrants, two men and a woman. Clipper ships in the China 
trade during the following decade brought 25,000 coolies and peasants 
from Kwangtung Province. Eager to escape the famine succeeding the 
disastrous Tai Ping rebellion, and lured by prospects of sudden wealth, 
they arrived to do the menial work of the Gold Rush. Though many 


went to the mines, the majority settled in San Francisco. Despite the 
racial hostility they faced, they early became sellers of wares imported 
from China, peddlers of fresh vegetables, fishermen, servants, gamblers, 
and real estate owners. 

As the Yankee first settlers, following the expanding water front in 
the 1850*5, moved down the slope toward Montgomery Street, the 
Chinese inherited their abandoned locations adjoining Portsmouth 
Square. Because of their value as laborers in the boom years when 
white labor was at a premium, they were allowed to entrench themselves 
in what was known to be an ideal residential district sheltered from 
wind and fog. The growing commercial district below Kearny Street 
formed the colony's eastern barrier; to the north Pacific Street's course 
between the Presidio and the water front was a natural boundary ; south 
of California Street, almost in the shadow of Old St. Mary's Church, 
was a white demi-monde dominated by French prostitutes; along the 
higher slope of what is now Nob Hill, Stockton Street's respectable 
residential quarter forbade encroachment farther west. Destroyed by 
the successive conflagrations of the iSso's and i86o's, Chinatown rose 
repeatedly on old foundations that no sufficient majority of San Fran- 
ciscans cared to reclaim. 

Old Chinatown had neither the native architecture nor the glitter 
of lights characteristic of its streets today. Dim lanterns, hung on the 
iron balconies of tenements, furnished by night the only illumination, 
until gaslights brought their flickering radiance. Overcrowding com- 
pelled the Chinese to enlarge their quarters with cellars which were to 
add many a legend to the colony's ill repute. Even before its traffic in 
vice and its tong wars reached the alarming proportions of the iSyo's, 
i88o's, and 1890*5, Chinatown was a stage set for criminal drama a 
place of eerie shadows and flitting figures, of blind alleys and obscure 
passageways, of quiet stabbings and casual gunfire. 

Subjected to increasing racial discrimination, the Chinese inherited 
the full measure of stigma that had been visited only incidentally upon 
the Hounds and Sydney Coves. When, during the building of the 
Central Pacific Railroad, additional thousands were imported by the 
Big Four to swell the already unwelcome horde of competitors with 
white labor, "Crocker's pets" became the objects of abuse throughout 
California. Dennis Kearney's sand-lot Workingmen's Party drove the 
hapless orientals from factories, burned their laundries, and threatened 
their white employers with violence. 

The resulting Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 made no provision, 
however, for deportation of Chinese lawfully within the country; and 
San Francisco's "Little China" remained to outlive half a century of 
agitation against .it. But the exclusion of orientals from their former 
respectable pursuits made them more than ever the prey of criminal 


elements. From the bonanza days until 1906, the district was synony- 
mous with the Barbary Coast. The two decades between 1906 and 
1927 (when the last tong war occurred) were required to eliminate its 
opium dens, its vice and gambling rackets, and its menace to public 

The municipal czardoms of "Blind Chris" Buckley and Abe Ruef 
subjected Chinatown to domination by their oriental henchman, Fong 
Chong better known as "Little Pete" and his blackmailing society, 
Gi Sin Seer. Little Pete operated in a Chinatown where rival tongs 
fought over the profits of a vice traffic as old as the colony itself. In its 
most flourishing days, thousands of slave girls with bound feet were 
crowded into brothels along Grant Avenue then the notorious Dupont 
Street and adjacent alleys. The bloodiest of the tong feuds, lasting 7 
years and costing 60 lives, was fought over "Lily-Foot" Wan Len, 
queen of the slave girls. It was Little Pete's Gi Sin Seer and a rival 
outfit of similar hired assassins, Bo Sin Seer, which finally settled the 
enmities of this oriental underworld and opened the way for China- 
town's modern phase. 

For his bribing activities in the case of Lee Chuck, one of his 
hatchetmen whose ready six-shooter sent a rival sprawling in Spofford 
Alley, Little Pete served five years in San Quentin Penitentiary. Once 
back in his old haunts, he began extending his activities beyond the 
confines of Chinatown. His gang cleaned up $100,000 in a racetrack 
swindle, which made enemies who swore to get him the instant he 
should appear without his usual bodyguard of white men. Their chance 
came in January, 1897. Impatient to learn the latest racetrack results, 
Little Pete entered a Waverley Place barber shop without his body- 
guard and paused to have his forehead shaved, his queue plaited, and 
his ears cleaned of wax. Then, "Two figures as swift and black as 
crows dart from nowhere into the doorway. There is a crackle of 
sound like the sputtering of a string of firecrackers ushering in the New 
Year: Little Pete falls forward in a crimson pool . . ." 

In true gangster tradition, Little Pete's cohorts attempted to give 
him a magnificent funeral. After two hours of intricate last rites, 
performed by four priests from his favorite joss house, his casket was 
placed in a resplendent hearse drawn by six black-draped white horses. 
Hired mourners preceded the hearse, burning joss sticks and wildly 
beating the air with uplifted arms. From a carriage, four Chinese 
busily tossed out bits of paper punched with square holes to confuse 
the devils seeking to make off with the spirit of the departed. The 
fantastic cortege, led by a popular orchestra playing the funeral march 
from Saul, proceeded through streets lined with spectators to the Chinese 
Cemetery down the Peninsula. Here a mob of onlookers not hood- 
lums, but respectable San Franciscans indignant over losing bets on race 


horses doped by Pete's henchmen greeted priests and mourners with 
hoots and clods of earth. The Chinese were compelled to haul the coffin 
back to the city where, at the old Chinese cemetery Little Pete's remains 
were interred pending arrangements for shipment to China. The 
wagonloads of roast pig, duck, cakes, tea, and gin left beside the grave 
were guzzled by the crowd of white onlookers. 

The Chinatown of Little Pete and his rival tongs was the China- 
town that shared with the Barbary Coast a worldwide notoriety. But 
always there was the sober, industrious Chinatown of respectable mer- 
chants and hard-working coolies ; of ancient native customs and religion ; 
and of traditional family life. Quietly this larger element was accumu- 
lating wealth, gradually co-operating with the Protestant and Catholic 
missions, and after 1906 with the city's police. When it became 
necessary to erect the new Chinatown upon the charred foundations of 
the old, Chinese capital and enterprise accomplished the task promptly 
and with good taste. The colony's southern boundary was extended to 
Bush Street, claiming the block now occupied by St. Mary's Square. 

The last three decades have seen varieus improvements on the dis- 
trict's sudden reconstruction after 1906. But not until recent years has 
its past assiduously kept alive by pulp magazines and newspaper supple- 
ments been lived down. Naive visitors still expect to be shown opium 
dens and underground passages. The new Chinatown, alert and pro- 
gressive, is without nostalgia for its long era of dirt and crime. The 
second largest Chinese settlement outside the mother country ( Singapore 
has the largest), it prefers its modern role as meeting place of East and 


103. The red-brick KONG CHOW TEMPLE (suggested visiting 
hours 6-10 p.m.), 520 Pine St., is entered through bright red doors 
opening onto the Passageway of Peace, a bare corridor ending in a blank 
wall protection against evil spirits, who travel only in straight lines. 
From an inner courtyard, stairs lead to the third-floor sanctuary, just 
beneath the green double-tiered oriental roof for worship of the an- 
cestral gods permits nothing more created by human hands to be above 
the deities. Decorating the* room are richly brocaded silken hangings 
and, extending its full breadth, hand-made wood carvings bearing 
stories of the Six Dynasties (589-317 B.C.) ; the upper part of one, a 
priceless, glass-enclosed work, depicts scenes from the Court of the 
Dragon King. From the articles of divination in the temple, religious 
Chinese determine those days auspicious for instituting business ventures 
and trips. Strips of red paper in the temple anteroom record the 
amounts of recent contributions heavily swelled on such special occa- 


sions as the Day for Sweeping the Graves and the Feast Day to 
Quan Ti. 

Pioneer Chinese from the district of Kong Chow first established 
their temple locally in 1857; arter tne buildings of the Kong Chow 
Association (one of the Chinese Six Companies) were dynamited to 
check the fire of 1906, they rebuilt their joss house here. Rescued from 
the doomed temple was the figure of Kuan Ti, patron deity and head 
of the 17 gods and goddesses of the temple, now enthroned in the 
reconstructed shrine. 

104. Where the soft crunch of gravel underfoot or the snores of a 
drowsing panhandler disturbs the quiet of green-terraced ST. MARY'S 
SQUARE, Pine, Anne, and California Sts., the raucous solicitations of 
the inmates of brothels once mingled with the bark of rifles in shooting 
galleries below, and American and British sailors met periodically for 
bouts and brawls. But the little park was not always so bawdy. In 
the iSgo's, the women of San Francisco petitioned the city, and the 
prostitutes were removed from Dupont Street (Grant Avenue) to the 
comparative isolation of the square (hidden from Dupont by a row of 
business establishments, as it is today). Here they remained for several 
years to distress the Paulist Fathers of Old St. Mary's, who faced them 
across California Street. In 1898, the Fathers organized the St. Mary's 
Association, whose purpose was to remove the bagnios and have the area 
set aside as a park. Between 1898 and 1904, money was appropriated 
on more than one occasion to buy the property for the city, but each 
time County Treasurer Sam Brooke used it for other purposes. A series 
of lawsuits resulted in the decision in 1904 that taxes should be levied to 
make the necessary purchases; but, before this was done, the fire of 
1906 wiped out the offending red light area. A step in replanning the 
city was the creation of the present park. 

From the high western slope of the square a STATUE OF SUN 
YAT-SEN faces the East toward China. The 1 2-foot figure, with head 
and hands of rose-red granite, wearing a long robe of bright stain- 
less steel, was created by sculptor Beniamino Bufano under the sponsor- 
ship of the WPA's Northern California Art Project (formerly the 
Federal Art Project). Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), organizer of the 
Kuomintang whose local branch supplied materials for the memorial 
visited San Francisco on several occasions. China's present (1940) 
president, Lin Sen, in 1937 wrote the words that appear on the steel 
disc in the granite base of the monument: "Father of the Chinese 
Republic and First President . . . Champion of Democracy . . . Pro- 
ponent of Peace and Friendship Among Nations . . ." 


N. from Pine St. on Anne St. to California St.; W . on California. 

105. The construction of OLD ST. MARY'S CHURCH, NE. 
corner Grant Ave. and California St., was inaugurated in 1853 by 
Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany, and at midnight Mass on Christmas 
Day, 1854, the edifice was dedicated as the cathedral seat for the Roman 
Catholic diocese of the Pacific Coast. Until completion of St. Mary's 
Cathedral in 1894, Old St. Mary's remained the most powerful strong- 
hold of Catholicism in California and Nevada. Respected for its rich 
tradition and the simple dignity of its services, this stately old structure 
for the last 45 years has been the parish church of the Paulist Fathers. 

Old St. Mary's stands on land donated by pioneer banker John 
Sullivan, whose wife (Catherine Farrell Sullivan) lies buried in the 
crypt of the church. Architects Crane and England are thought to have 
modeled the purely Gothic structure after a church in the Spanish birth- 
place of Archbishop Alemany. Its red brick and ironwork was shipped 
around the Horn; granite brought from China was hoisted into place 
with improvised wooden derricks by Chinese workmen. The two large 
clocks in the 9O-foot-high square Gothic tower were long the community 
timepieces of early San Franciscans. Beneath the frontal dial still 
appear the gold letters on black bronze, whose warning was intended to 
put the fear of God into the roisterers of Dupont Street: "Son Observe 
the Time and Fly from Evil." As early as 1855, an angry corre.- 
spondent to the Alta California made irreverent protest against the 
booming bell of Old St. Mary's: "Those who want their sins washed 
off by those daily ablutions may as well be aroused by their own con- 
sciences, without annoying the whole neighborhood." 

Completely gutted by the fire of 1906, the interior of the church 
was rebuilt on its original plan. In January, 1929, the basement was 
remodeled to form a modern auditorium, Paulist Hall ; two months 
later a five-story structure adjoining St. Mary's on the north was razed 
and the church building extended to its present length of 153 feet. This 
latter wing, which maintains the architectural features of the original 
(Edward A. Eames, architect), houses the PAULIST CIRCULATING 
LIBRARY (open weekdays n-6, Sun. 10:30-1:30). 

Each night for more than a decade, a long line of needy migrants 
has waited patiently at the side entrance to Old St. Mary's for the food 
and lodging tickets supplied them by the Paulist Fathers. 

N. from California St. on Grant Ave. to Sacramento St.; E. on Sacra- 

106. The NOM KU SCHOOL (open 5-8 p.m.}, 765 Sacramento 
St., for children between the ages of 6 and 15, supplements the public 


school curriculum, offering a purely cultural program designed to foster 
Chinese traditions and customs in American-born Chinese. No com- 
mercial subject is taught; emphasis is placed on Chinese language, 
calligraphy, literature, history, and philosophy (particularly that of 

Built in 1912 by a group of wealthy Chinese, the school building 
follows the official courthouse design of China. A pair of sacred lions 
guard the set-back upper story. High, narrow windows in many small 
panels give myriad light reflections to the interior, whose simple teak- 
wood furnishings are relieved by the lavish use of decorative colors: 
vivid green, yellow, red, and turquoise. 

107. More than its name implies is the CHINESE CHAMBER 
OF COMMERCE (open Mon.-Fri. 10-5, Sat. 10-12), 730 Sacra- 
mento St., the only organization of its kind when established in the 
i88o's. In addition to fostering Chinese business and commerce, the 
organization aids in solving the housing problem of Chinese in San 
Francisco; enlightens its countrymen on legal matters; and aids in the 
liquidation of bankruptcies of Chinese merchants by negotiation rather 
than by court procedure. 

The Chamber of Commerce has assumed commercial arbitration 
over matters once handled by the Chinese Six Companies, settling dis- 
putes among merchants and members of their families, and rarely 
among trade organizations (such as the Jewelry Guild or Laundry 
Workers Association). Since establishment of a similar chamber in 
New York in 1910, this bureau no longer serves Chinese throughout 
the United States. Executive Secretary Chee Lowe, educated at San 
Francisco public schools and the University of California, worked for 
20 years as a mining engineer in China, and returned to San Francisco 
in 1938. 

Retrace on Sacramento St. 

1 08. Outwardly occidental are the businesslike offices of the KUO- 
827 Sacramento St., from which are supervised the activities of the 3 
regional and 50 branch offices of the Chinese Nationalist Party in the 
United States. The San Francisco headquarters was the second estab- 
lished outside China (the first was in Honolulu). Party activities in 
this country (according to National Chairman Dr. K. D. Lum) consist 
of establishing good will between the people of the United States and 
the people of China and sponsoring the spread of the democratic idea by 
following the principles laid down by Sun Yat-sen. The Western 
Regional Office of the Kuomintang, with jurisdiction over branches in 


California, Nevada, and Utah, also is located in San Francisco (846 
Stockton St.). 

The party publishes two Chinese-language newspapers in the city: 
The Chinese Nationalist Daily (809 Sacramento St.) and the Young 
China (88 1 Clay St.), founded by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. 

109. The irregular series of rectangular terraces forming the 
CHINESE CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND (open weekdays 10-10; 
play apparatus), Sacramento St. between Waverly PI. and Stockton St., 
are walled by the dark brick of surrounding buildings. Brightly lighted 
at night, the playground is the occasional scene of evening entertainment 
and concerts (on gala occasions the children wear their native dress). 
The upturned cornices of the small pagoda-like stucco clubhouse are 
brightly painted. 

N. from Sacramento St. on Stockton St. 

ASSOCIATION (open to visitors 1-5), 843 Stockton St., also called 
the Chung Wan Wui Goon and the China Association, is best known 
as the Chinese Six Companies despite the fact that it long has repre- 
sented seven companies. These seven associations, each representing a 
province or district of old China, are the Kong Chow, Ning Yung, Sam 
Yup, Sue Hing, Yan Wo, Yeung Wo, and the Hop Wo formed when 
so many persons had come from one district that it was advisable to 
make two companies of one. (The Chinese system of organization 
follows three lines: family of which there are about 100; geographical 
hence the 7 associations listed above; and fraternal the tongs, of 
which there are about 40, composed of people with common interests, 
such as trades.) 

With Nation-wide jurisdiction, the Six Companies functions as a 
board of arbitration, settling disputes among organizations and indi- 
viduals. Chinatown's civic activities, such as the annual Community 
Chest drive and Rice Bowl parties, are under its management. It assists 
in maintaining the Chinese Hospital and Chinese schools. A particu- 
larly important function is its supervision of the removal of the bones of 
Chinese dead from American cemeteries to China for reburial or reposi- 
tory in shrines. 

The Six Companies at one time engaged in commercial activities 
such as the importation of bonded Chinese laborers but is today a non- 
profit organization supported by popular subscription, special taxes, and 
the income from its properties. From among its officers (representatives 
of the seven associations named above) a new president is elected every 
three months. The brief presidential term is designed to prevent the 
acquisition of undue power or influence by any one officer. 


The organization occupies a three-story stuccoed building roofed 
with red tile. White marble steps lead to a first-floor veranda guarded 
by giant Chinese lanterns. Contrasting with the facade of sky-blue tile 
are green- and gold-trimmed balconies opening onto the second and 
third floors. The interior is sumptuously furnished in the Chinese motif, 
from the large main-floor meeting hall to the rooms and offices of the 
upper floors. 

in. A pioneer of Protestant faith in Chinatown is the CHINESE 
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 925 Stockton St., founded in 1853. 
The present building was erected after the 1906 fire upon the ruins of 
the original structure. The simple, uncarpeted interior resembles that 
of a country church, with its rough, beamed ceilings, its long pews, and 
the rows of chairs behind the pulpit; yet its atmosphere is that of the 
Orient. Three red velvet panels behind the rostrum carry inscriptions, 
in gold Chinese characters, of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's 
Prayer, and the Beatitudes. 

The Chinese Presbyterian Church, in 1854, published San Fran- 
cisco's first Chinese and English newspaper (probably the first in the 
United States), The Oriental, which is said to have done much to 
counteract the local hostility between Chinese and the white race during 
its two-year existence. A copy of the paper is preserved in the Presby- 
terian Theological Seminary at San Anselmo. The church conducts 
day and evening classes in English for Chinese of all ages. 

W . from Stockton St. on Washington St. to W etmore St.; S. from 
Washington on W etmore. 

HOME, 144 Wetmore St., occupying a small double flat home of 
a staff of Chinese girls is far removed from the busy mission that 
moved to larger quarters four times after its establishment in 1874. In 
1894, a building was erected at 920 Sacramento Street to house the 
crowded home. The following year its management was assumed by 
Donaldina Cameron, who became "Lo Mo" (The Mother) to the 
scores of Chinese girls she rescued from slave operators. Long before 
her retirement at the age of 70, Miss Cameron had achieved an inter- 
national reputation. The mission moved to its present quarters in 1939. 

Retrace on Wetmore St. to Washington St.; retrace on Washington to 
Trenton St.; N. on Trenton. 

113. The CHINESE HOSPITAL, SE. corner Trenton and Jack- 
son Sts., built in 1924 by public subscription by and for the residents of 
Chinatown, occupies a four-story, many-windowed gray concrete build- 


ing, decorated by ornamental iron grill work and topped by a large 
sunroom. Chinatown continues to support its little 58-bed hospital, 
aided only by the Community Chest, while white patients in increasing 
numbers take advantage of its reasonable rates low in comparison to 
those of other modern hospitals of the same standing. The institution 
consists, in addition to its general medical department and surgery, of 
emergency and maternity wards; an eye, ear, nose and throat depart- 
ment; and a clinic with in- and out-patient departments. It is staffed 
by both Chinese and white employees and officials. 

Retrace on Trenton St. to Washington St.; E. on Washington. 

114. What is now OLD CHINATOWN LANE, extending a 
half-block northward from its entrance near 868 Washington Street 
a narrow paved thoroughfare of bazaars and shops characteristic of 
Chinatown was once the "Street of the Gamblers," a crowded little 
lane notorious for its gaming rooms and brothels. Later, it became 
Cameron Alley (honoring Donaldina Cameron) and kept this name 
until 1939, when, oddly enough, its dingy tenements were modernized 
to resemble the untouched Chinatown of a generation ago. 

At the street's entrance stands a 4O-foot edifice embodying a watch 
tower, in authentic design, such as guards temple or palace gates and 
public grounds in China. The alleyway is decorated with bright Chi- 
nese lanterns, flowers, and shrubs. Among its shops is THE PAVILION 
OF THE SEVEN MAIDENS. Here, beyond a store offering oriental 
handcraft, is the first women's temple in the United States, dedicated to 
the Queen of Heaven (T'ien Hou) and watched over by the goddess of 
mercy. The legend of the temple is the story of a lovely goddess, who 
fell in love with a shepherd. She was allowed to marry him but, as 
punishment, was permitted to join him only on the seventh day of the 
seventh moon, at which time magpies formed a bridge with their wings 
that the goddess might descend. One of the tapestries in the temple 
depicts the goddess in the act of descending thus to meet her waiting 

In the CHINGWAH LEE ART STUDIO (12 m. to 12 p.m.), reached by 
a narrow stairway at the far end of the lane, are exhibited a rare collec- 
tion of porcelain, bronzes, ancient snuff bottles, paintings^ ancient 
weapons of warfare, and a large collection of Chinese gods (many from 
temples formerly situated in towns and camps throughout California, 
which eventually will be housed in a new temple). 

Extending from the north end of Old Chinatown Lane westward to 
Stockton Street is the STREET OF THE LITTLE ' BAZAARS, an indoor 
passage whose model was a street of old China. Midway in it is a wish- 
ing well surrounded by a small garden. 


S. from Washington St. on Waverly PL 

115. The main floor of the four-story, yellow-brick building housing 
the TIN HOW TEMPLE (suggested visiting hours 6-10 p.m.}, 125 
Waverly PL, is occupied by the Sue King Benevolent Association, by 
whom the temple is maintained. Maroon-colored balconies run the 
length of the three upper floors. A wrought-iron gate on the top floor 
(summon attendant by bell] guards the temple of T'ien Hou, Queen of 
the Heavens and Goddess of the Seven Seas. 

It is believed by many Chinese that one of the present altars was 
brought to San Francisco in 1848, by one of the few Chinese who 
arrived that year, transferred from a sailing vessel to a house at First 
and Brannan Streets, and later moved to Waverly Place. When a 
larger temple erected in 1875 was ravaged by the flames of 1906, the 
altar and the goddess T'ien Hou were removed temporarily to Oakland. 
The following year, workmen excavating for the basement of the present 
building discovered the great temple bell, and it too was reinstalled. 

The main altar of the temple presents an intricate carving repre- 
senting the life story of Confucius. To the left of T'ien Hou sits Moi 
Dii, god of military affairs, and Ni-Lung, one of the goddesses of 
motherhood. In front of T'ien Hou are three massive bronze urns 
containing prayer sticks and a tiny altar light, which is never permitted 
to burn out. Along the walls are 16 ceremonial wands, resembling 
ancient Chinese battle-axes, used in early times as implements of war- 
fare against evil spirits. With the altar, set in the center of the sanc- 
tuary, are two urns inlaid with Cantonese enamel and precious stones; 
their designs depict scenes from the life and work of Confucius, whose 
teachings are especially revered, although Buddhism and Taoism are 
also represented. 

Retrace on Waverly PL; E. on Washington St. 

1 1 6. A pagoda-like, green-fronted, little one-story structure houses 
the CHINESE TELEPHONE EXCHANGE, 743 Washington St., 
only exchange of its kind outside China. The interior is elaborate with 
gilt and wood carvings; dragons in bas relief decorate the ceiling. 
Intricately carved grillwork screens shield the 20 girls operators from 
observation. Some of the present (1940) operators are descendants of 
the men who handled the original exchange in 1894; unusual memories 
are required of them, since the 2,100 subscribers include many who insist 
upon asking for one another by name rather than by number. 

The exchange stands on the SITE OF THE CALIFORNIA STAR. Here 
Sam Brannan, renegade Mormon and organizer of the first Vigilance 


Committee, published the California Star, first newspaper in San 

Retrace on Washington St. to Grant Ave.; N. on Grant. 

117. Guiding the destiny of the ORIENTAL BRANCH OF 
THE BANK OF AMERICA (open Mon.-Fri. 9-3, Sat. 9-7), 939 
Grant Ave., are its California-born manager, Dorothy Gee, and eight 
Chinese women department heads. (Only one other bank in the world, 
in Shanghai, is operated entirely by women.) The branch is proud of 
an unusual record: not a single loan defaulted during the entire period 
of the depression. 

The establishment occupies the ground floor of a four-story yellow- 
brick building. The facade is enlivened by black and red marble, the 
windows bordered with carved black teak. Customers' desks in the 
lobby some of which are of teakwood are supplied with the abacus, 
still used for mathematical calculations by many of the branch's 9,000 

E. from Grant Ave. on Jackson St. 

1 1 8. Motion pictures made both in Hollywood and China (Chinese 
films predominate) have been shown at the GREAT CHINA THEA- 
TER (open 7-12 p.m., adm. J5^), 636 Jackson St., since it abandoned 
legitimate productions in 1938. In the small ornate foyer orange- 
fronted and covered by a blue ceiling dotted with gilt stars stills of 
Chinese cinema stars are displayed beside scenes from such attractions as 
"Ray 'Crash' Corrigan in Part 3 of Undersea Kingdom." The names 
of current attractions, in Chinese characters on cheap wrapping paper, 
are elaborately framed with floral designs. 

Retrace on Jackson St. to Grant Ave.; N. on Grant. 

119. Everyone is a first-nighter at the MANDARIN THEATER 
(open 7:J0 p.m.- 12: 30 a.m.; adm. 25^-50$), for the play changes each 
evening. With few props and little scenery, the native dramas seem to 
flow on endlessly, while the orchestra (seated onstage out of range of 
the play) and the audience consume melon seeds, ice cream, and "pop." 
For late arrivals, the programs carry detailed synopses of the play. 
The actors are unperturbed by the antics of children scampering up and 
down the aisles or by the intrusion of prop men, who casually walk off 
and on supplying needed properties often by placing a table between 
two bamboo stools to form a bridge, over which the actor walks sedately 


to meet his foe in the dramatic sword fight that highlights every 

Only within late years were curtains introduced into Chinatown's 
legitimate theaters. These usually were supplied by some Chinese 
manufacturer, who devised this method of advertising local wares to a 
foreign public. The following notice recently appeared on the rather 
gaudy drapery of the Mandarin's proscenium: 

"Heart Brand Disease Solution Dependable for curing all 
kinds of Skin Disease. 'The Wai Shang Yuk Ching' Tonic Juice. 
Safely and Highly recommended for nourishing the Blood and 

Aukah Chuen Canton, China." 

Latin Quarter: 
Telegraph Hill and North Beach 

"The city is full of bold hills, rising steeply from the deep 
water. The air is keen and dry and bright like the air of Greece 
and the waters not less blue . . . recalling the cities of the Medi- 
terranean . . " 


BETWEEN the two steep hills that loom abruptly from the 
Peninsula's northeastern bulge on the east, Telegraph Hill; 
on the west, Russian Hill ringed with their tiers of buildings, 
a narrow valley runs northwestward from the fringes of the financial 
district to the water front of North Beach. Along its bottom cuts the 
diagonal of Columbus Avenue, which begins among the clustering shops, 
cafes, and night clubs at the southern base of Telegraph Hill and ends 
among the gasworks, warehouses, and smokestacks at the northern base 
of Russian Hill. Up from this traffic-crowded artery, where stucco- 
fronted commercial buildings with their awnings and signboards string 
in long rows, climb endless blocks of weathered frame flats, staggered 
step-like one above another. Here and there a round-bellied window, 
a red-tiled roof, a patch of green garden breaks the monotony of their 
ranks. In the salt-fresh, sun-baked air of a clear day, each building 
stands out sharply, tarnished with a mellow patina of sun, fog, and 
soot. Seen in such weather, under a hot blue sky, the district is 
reminiscent of some Mediterranean seaside village spilling to the water 
from steep heights. And seen when the billowing mists of a smoky 
twilight stream down the slopes, it has the look of a sprawling hillside 
town of northern Italy. 

Whether imagined or actual, such resemblances could not have 
failed to suggest themselves to San Franciscans who know that this is 
San Francisco's "Little Italy." It could only have been an imagined 
resemblance that prompted Ernest Peixotto's often-quoted remark: "If 
you want to behold a bit of the Bay of Naples, go some misty morning 
to Fisherman's Wharf." To Robert Louis Stevenson the district was 
"Little Italy ... a favorite haunt of mine . . ." In his time, too, it 
was called "Little Mexico" (a part of it still is Mexican). And it 
might once haye been named "Little Ireland," for as Wallace Irwin 
wrote of "Telygraft Hill": 



"The Irish they live on the top av it, 

And th' Dagoes they live on th' base av it, 
And th' goats and th' chicks and th' brickbats and shticks 
Is joombled all over th' face av it . . ." 

Through the years, the face of hill and beach have changed almost 
beyond recognition, but since the town's beginnings the steep slopes of 
these northeastern limits have been peopled with a many-tongued foreign 
colony. And like Latin Quarters everywhere, the district came in the 
end to be the traditional haunt of bohemia. 

The visitor who boards a streetcar for North Beach will no more 
find an ocean beach at the end of the line than will the pedestrian who 
toils up Telegraph Hill find a telegraph station at the end of his climb. 
The beach along which bathhouses clustered in the days when the 
famous wharf built by "Honest Harry" Meiggs in 1853 still extended 
into the Bay from the foot of Powell Street was buried more than 
half a century ago when tons of earth were dumped into the water, out 
as far as the sea wall extending along the present water front, finished 
in 1 88 1. And long since vanished is that telegraph station on the 
summit of the hill which was a city landmark for decades after it was 
connected by wire in 1853 with a lookout station at Point Lobos. The 
station replaced the still older semaphore of which Bret Harte wrote in 
"The Man at the Semaphore": ". . . on the extremest point of the 
sandy peninsula, where the bay of San Francisco debouches into the 
Pacific, there stood a semaphore telegraph ... it signified to another 
semaphore farther inland the 'rigs' of incoming vessels, by certain un- 
couth signs, which were passed on to Telegraph Hill, San Fraincisco, 
where they reappeared on a third semaphore . . . and on certain days 
of the month every eye was turned to welcome those gaunt arms widely 
extended at right angles which meant 'side-wheel steamer' (the only 
steamer which carried the mails) and 'letters from home.' ' : 

The road to the Presidio, which wound over Telegraph Hill's 
western shoulders and past North Beach, was a track through unsettled 
wilds until the later i85o's. For years the only house between Yerba 
Buena and the Presidio was the hospitable adobe which Juana Briones 
built in 1836 near the hill's western base, at what is now the inter- 
section of Powell and Filbert Streets. In the shelter of that Loma Alta 
(high hill) of the Spanish discoverers, the buxom dark-featured widow 
of Apolinario Miranda supplied milk and green vegetables to visiting 
ship's crews, administered to the sick, and sheltered an occasional refugee 
from the wretchedness of life before the mast. The travelers of the 
iSso's found the "old Presidio road . . . neither safe nor pleasant," 
recalled pioneers T. A. Barry and B. A. Patten. "The hard adobe soil 
in summer was like stone, and in the rainy season gummy, sticky and 
disagreeable. The steep, shelving, uneven way [made] the carriage per- 


petually seem as if it were just toppling over. . . . Like all primitive 
roads, it wound up over the highest, most toilsome way, past cattle-pens, 
corrals, brick-yards and butcher's shambles, the ground all the way 
looking as baked and hard as slag or adamant, with no sign of 
vegetation . . ." 

Around Telegraph Hill's southern slopes no more than a stone's 
throw from the town's first landing place at Clarke's Point congre- 
gated in 1849 exiles from Australia's penal colonies in a district of grog 
shops, brothels, and gambling dives known as "Sydney Town." Along 
the hill's western base spread the shacks and tents of "Little Chile," 
settled by Chilenos and Peruvians. At weekly intervals, usually on 
Sundays, the organized hoodlums who called themselves "Hounds" 
many of their number recruited from Sydney Town used to raid the 
Chileno quarter, pillaging the houses, robbing and beating the in- 
habitants, attacking the women. The depredations were only halted by 
the Vigilance Committee of 1851. 

For decades the North Point Docks under the brow of Telegraph 
Hill, built in 1853 from the foot of Sansome Street, were the landing 
place for immigrants from France and Italy. From the beginning they 
settled around the slopes of the hill. The section became a polyglot 
community, where Irish, Germans, French, Italians, and Latin Amer- 
icans mingled easily. Although the first Italians had arrived as early as 
the i83o's, they began to overwhelm the other nationalities with their 
numbers only toward the end of the nineteenth century. By the thou- 
sands they came laborers, artisans, mechanics, farmers, shopkeepers. 
As soon as they were well established, they lent passage money to 
countrymen in the homeland. The majority settled in the North 
Beach-Telegraph Hill section because it reminded them of their native 
land, because rents and land were cheap there, and because it was near 
the Bay where many of them earned their living by fishing. The Irish, 
the Germans, and the French moved to other parts of the city. When 
the fire of 1906 began to creep up the slopes of the hill, it was the 
Italians who saved it. From their cellars they rolled out barrels of red 
wine and, forming a bucket brigade, protected their houses against the 
flames with blankets soaked in the wine. The district has been theirs 
ever since, shared for the most part only by the Latin American colony 
at its southwestern fringes, near the base of Russian Hill, and by the 
bohemian colony (succeeded lately by sympathizers of more affluent 
means) on the crest of Telegraph Hill. 

"Little Italy" is no longer so little, for the Italians, 60,000 strong, 
are San Francisco's largest and most powerful national minority. And 
North Beach is home not only for the Italians who live there but also 
for those who. have moved to other parts of the city or the Bay region. 
On Sundays and feast days they come back to North Beach to visit 


relatives and revive old friendships. They fill the bay-windowed flats, 
lounge in the doorways, and gather in groups for sidewalk discussion. 
They crowd the lawns and benches beneath the weeping willows in 
Washington Square. In their eyes is little regret for the vanishing 
past; in their rich laughter only a hearty appreciation for the present. 
What if the old stores are beginning to disappear the dingy shelves 
and counters stacked with dried mushrooms, anchovies, and the Italian 
cheeses : Parmesan, Roma, Gorgonzola the dusty rafters festooned with 
yards of rich moldy sausages and bunches of aromatic dried herbs: rose- 
mary, thyme, sage and sweet marjoram the boxes of creamy smooth 
chocolates from Turin and Perugia? Are not the great new markets, 
dazzling with refrigerated show cases and white tile, filled with the 
same good things to eat? 

In the spring the markets, both old and modern, proclaim the virtues 
of capretti, fresh suckling kid. The young goats' heads, replete with 
tiny horns, are displayed in the windows. Brown and white candy 
lambs, with little brass bells hung about their necks and Italian flags 
thrust in their backs, appear in all the confectionaries. Beside them lie 
huge Easter eggs with Buona Pasqua written on them in sparkling 
sugar. The pre-Lenten season is also the occasion for elaborate displays 
in shops devoted to imported gravure prints of a religious nature and 
Carrara marble images of the Virgin. 

Formerly this season was marked by the rivalry between the Gari- 
baldi and Bercigliari Guards. Sponsored by competing undertaking 
establishments, these two drill companies contested at Easter parades and 
pre-Lenten carnival balls for the choice of a queen and for trophies. 
Today the Italian Family Club and other social organizations hold 
pre-Lenten balls, but the maskers are missing, being confined to Italian 
celebrations of such Anglo-Saxon festivities as Hallowe'en and New 
Year's Eve. 

Keen rivalry still exists, however, among the colony's residents in 
the choice of a queen for the annual fete on Columbus Day. Elected 
usually by votes secured through purchases at various North Beach 
stores, she reigns briefly each October 12. A special mass at the Church 
of Saints Peter and Paul honors the great discoverer, as does a parade 
to the Municipal Pier at the foot of Van Ness Avenue. At the pier a 
pageant in fifteenth century costumes re-enacts Columbus' momentous 
landing on the shores of San Salvador. 

In the fall, when truckloads of ripened grapes have been piled in 
cellars, North Beach waxes heady with the smell of fermenting wine. 
The owners of portable winepresses move from one cool basement to 
another, crushing grapes for the red vino. Besides beverages of domestic 
manufacture, North Beach merchants offer wines and liquors imported 


from Italy; and vov of Padua has converted many not of Latin blood to 
the colony's gastronomy and its casual way of life. 

To industry, finance, sports, and politics the city's Italians have made 
distinguished contributions. The names of Amadeo Giannini, founder 
of the Bank of America, Armando Pedrini, and James A. Bacigalupi 
are known to the world's stock markets. (Until the 1929 stock market 
crash scarcely a North Beach Italian, from cook's helper to crab fisher- 
man, did not own shares in Giannini's corporation.) Mayor Angelo J. 
Rossi is of Italian descent. Of National reputation in the world of 
sports are the Di Maggio brothers; Fred Apostoli, the boxer; Charlie 
Ferrara, golf champion; Vic Bottari and Angelo "Hank" Luisetti, 
football and basketball heroes. (With great pride North Beach resi- 
dents point out the playground at Lombard and Mason Streets where 
they say Joe Di Maggio learned to play baseball. ) 

Mostly immigrants from Italy's northern provinces, the robust 
inhabitants of North Beach maintain their attachment for the soil in 
spite of their urban mode of living. The Peninsula truck gardens 
owned by their compatriots supply the city's wholesale vegetable and 
flower markets. The colony's other roots, particularly for its Neapolitan 
and Sicilian elements, are in the fishing industry; and herein is revealed 
a communal strain that is in marked contrast to the individualism 
apparent in other Italian enterprises. Members of the Crab Fishermen's 
Protective Association own their boats and gear in common and share 
among themselves the profits of the catch they bring in to Fisherman's 

Ever since Juana Briones established her home here, Spanish-speaking 
people have lived in North Beach. Although most of them now live 
farther west near the base of Russian Hill, many still cling to their 
older habitat on the slopes of Telegraph Hill. Here an ill-concealed 
and profound antagonism exists between them and their Italian neigh- 
bors. They patronize small butcher shops and grocery stores owned by 
their own countrymen. At the base of the hill a barber shop finds it 
expedient to hire barbers of each nationality, with separate chairs, for 
its factional clientele. That the sins of the fathers may not be visited 
upon the coming generations, however, a third chair is provided, with 
a hobbyhorse mounted on its seat, which is shared by children of both 

The small colony of Spanish-speaking people in the vicinity of Powell 
Street and Broadway likewise share with some misgivings the larger 
domain of their Italian neighbors, who own most of their property, and 
even their weekly newspaper, El Impartial. The Mexicans and other 
Latin Americans maintain a separate life and a separate culture that 
clings to customs of their homelands. Although a common religion is 
their strongest bond with their immediate neighbors, Nuestra Senora 


de Guadalupe differs in aspect from the Italian church which overlooks 
Washington Square. Along the base of Russian Hill they have also 
their restaurants and social clubs, their abarrotes which offer Mexican 
candies, pastry, huaraches, and pottery. Spanish phonograph records 
are sold in a store which displays Spanish books, South American and 
Mexican periodicals, and American "pulp" magazines reprinted in 

Despite its Spanish origins, San Francisco has today only about 
8,700 Mexicans, of whom approximately 7,000 are native born. Other 
scattered Spanish-speaking groups bring the total Latin American minor- 
ity to about 14,000. Many old families live in North Beach. The 
majority of the Mexicans are laborers; the Peruvians and others have 
clerical jobs in the export and import trade. They have no native 
theater, but a North Beach movie shows a Spanish motion picture once 
each week. The Basque sheep-ranchers who come occasionally to North 
Beach are still to be found about the Espanol and Du Midi hotels. 
Mexican folk dances such as the jarabe tapetillo are seen only in cafes 
like La Fiesta. A little curio shop on Pacific Street sells baskets woven 
of maguey fibre, the vivid handicraft of Yaqui Indians, and various 
native wares imported from below the Rio Grande. 

As North Beach clings to its traditions in spite of physical and 
social change, so does Telegraph Hill ; and the hill has a tradition all 
its own which is not altogether incidental to the history of the Latin 
elements that have claimed all but its summit and its eastern side. The 
"Telygraft Hill" of the Irish who believed themselves descendants of 
Gaelic kings and littered the hill with their shanties, their washing, and 
their goats exists today only in the reminiscences of old-timers, but their 
influence is still there with a few of the Irish themselves to keep it 
alive. The French, who shared the hill with them, have also moved 
elsewhere, and their old locations have been claimed by the Italians. 

Gone, too, is that fervent assemblage of bohemians to whom Tele- 
graph Hill was an oasis of Art in the wasteland of the 1920*8. Scattered 
now to fame, hack work, or cheaper quarters are all those blase girls 
and sad young men who talked interminably in Freudian overtones of 
Picasso and T. S. Eliot, Stravinsky and Isadora Duncan, and read with 
bated breath in transition and the Dial the expatriate communiques 
from Rapallo and Trieste, and Paris editions of Joyce's Ulysses smug- 
gled in from Mexico. That they painted little and wrote less was 
beside the point: they represented for Telegraph Hill the cultural 
frustration of an epoch, Gertrude Stein's "lost generation" before it 
found itself in the rebirth of National bohemianism somewhat more 
affluent, less real. 

The passing of the days when the summit of "the Hill was not 
inhabited save by flocks of goats" as Charles Warren Stoddard, who 


once lived there, wrote was bitterly resisted by the little group of 
professional bohemians who had labored to create a Greenwich Village 
of the West. When one of the first of the hill's more pretentious 
homes began to rise from concrete foundations perched uncertainly on 
the steep slope, it was threatened by intermittent barrages of rocks, tin 
cans, and dead cats until, during the last weeks of construction, the 
owner was obliged to camp out in the unfinished building to protect it 
from vandalism. As improvements encroached, rents rose. When 
Montgomery Street was paved through to Julius' Castle and towering 
concrete bulkheads were erected to dam up the treacherous clay hill- 
sides, three- and four-story stucco apartment buildings with rents run- 
ning into fancy figures began to appear. As rents soared, property 
owners began to rebuild and remodel the weatherbeaten shanties cling- 
ing to the eastern slopes or to demolish them and erect ultramodern 
studio apartments in their places. The artists retreated to lands of 
cheaper living. To take their places on the crest of the hill came 
brokers, minor executives, and other part-time bohemians. 

Filbert Street's long flight of weather-blackened stairs, climbing 
over the hill's grassy-edged shoulders and up its scarred brown rocky 
face, gouged out long ago to fill in the water-front tidelands below, 
still affords glimpses of the hill as it was. Mounting the grassy slopes, 
where torrents of rainwater still gush down the ruts in spring, it passes 
tiny cottages hanging against cliff sides, narrow alleys laid with planks, 
steep little gardens behind picket fences. Remotely sound the rattle of 
winches along the docks, the puffs and snorts of the Belt Line Railroad 
locomotives, the sirens, whistles, and bells of the water front below, 
from which float upward whiffs of the odors of roasting coffee, of 
cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg from spice and coffee houses. Through 
the haze over the Bay, where gulls wheel, shimmer Yerba Buena Island 
with its pillared causeway below the wooded crest; the radiant white 
walls and towers of Treasure Island; and the bluish slopes with their 
tumbled white buildings of the East Bay shore. Over the weather- 
beaten board walks and fences tumble matted hedges of geraniums; 
around green-shuttered windows, over the railings of balconies on stilts, 
up weather-stained shingled walls clamber creeping vines. And from 
the summit of the hill, banked in greenery, soars the gleaming white 
fluted shaft of Coit Tower. 

The crest of the hill is another land. Around the park's patch of 
green, hemmed in by concrete walls, soaring modern apartment houses 
rear their blank stuccoed facades. Ragged eucalyptus trees shed their 
leaves on jumbled, varicolored roofs. From facades painted pink, green, 
blue, or yellow, expansive windows look out across the Bay. Behind 
heavy wooden doors, narrow brick-flagged passageways lead into court- 
yards sheltered from the cold blustering breezes off the ocean, where 


caged canaries sing in the sun. The building fronts are adorned with 
gaily painted doors and brass knockers, with windows revealing Indian 
pottery and blankets, with window boxes colored sea green, aquamarine, 
and lemon yellow. And only a half-block down the western slope, 
where gloomy flats border narrow Genoa Place, begins Little Italy, 
with its sour smell of bread dough fermenting; its pillows, mattresses 
and bedding hung out to air from open windows ; its screaming children 
tobogganing down the steep pavements on the broken-out sides of fruit 

Along the Latin Quarter's southern boundary, Broadway, where it 
turns its face toward the rest of San Francisco, denizens of hill and 
beach Italians and bohemians meet and mingle with the rest of San 
Francisco. Gaily bedizened with glaring electric signs after dark, 
Broadway and its cross streets in the four blocks between Kearny and 
Powell Streets are bordered continuously with restaurants and night 
clubs whose food, wine, and entertainment draw nightly throngs: 
Vanessi's, Finocchio's, the Fior d'ltalia, and New Joe's where crowds 
wait for seats at three in the morning; the Xochimilco and the Sinaloa; 
the Jai-Alai and the Espanol. At the opposite end of North Beach, near 
the water front with its wharves and warehouses, the bright lights of 
the Club Lido, the Bal Tabarin, Lucca's and the Fiesta Club dispel the 
gloom. And to the water front at Fisherman's Wharf, where the crabs 
brought in by the fishermen are cooked on the sidewalk in steaming 
caldrons, comes all of San Francisco for sea food at Joe di Maggio's, 
Fishermen's Grotto, or one of a dozen open-fronted cafes. 

To those who love it best North Beach will remain the Latin 
Quarter: bohemia between the hills and neighbor to the sea, hospitable 
with the musical linguistics and the gracious folkways brought hither 
by paisanos from the hot countries. And the hill will still stand, with 
its crown of wind-swept eucalyptus, through the fog and the rain and 
the sun. And people will still come there at sunset to watch the long 
shadows creep upward from the trees of Washington Square and to feel 
in the stir of the gathering darkness the touch of George Sterling's 
"cool grey city of love." 


1 20. Probably the best-known and best-loved bar in a city of count- 
less streamlined cocktail lounges is ISADORE GOMEZ' CAFE, 848 
Pacific St. A small lantern before an inconspicuous door marks the 
entrance to a narrow flight of dirty wooden stairs. Upstairs is a long, 
smoke-filled room a room (describes the Almanac for Thirty-Niners) 
". . . dilapidated as in speak-easy days, retaining the broken plaster of 
the ceiling, the insecure chairs, the cracked oilcloth on the tables, the 

Latin Quarter Points of Interest 

Lords of the Hilltops Points of Interest (J3J) 


long pine bar . . . Idle behind the bar, leaning across it with leisurely 
amusement, is Izzy Gomez in a black fedora ... a coffee-colored fat 
man . . . elaborately feted on his birthday by San Francisco's Press 
Club ... an illiterate fat man painted, photographed, written and 
sung about . . ." Here 63-year-old Isadore greets his closest friends, 
or anyone who may wander in, and tells tall, witty tales of life in his 
native Portugal or dances Portuguese folk-dances with incredible grace 
despite his massive bulk. On occasion he expounds punctuating with 
a ponderous forefinger the three principles of his philosophy: "When 
you don't know what to say, say nothing"; "Life is a long road; take it 
easy"; "When you come to a pool of water on that long road, don't 
make it muddy; maybe you'll pass there again, and you'll be thirsty." 
Since 1900 Izzy has been running his bar, since 1930 in its present 
location. Famed in a city noted for good things to eat are his thick, 
juicy steaks and great platters of French-fried potatoes. And drinks 
are not measured here, but poured with casual generosity from the 
bottle. Repeal has not changed the house of El Gomez; red chalk 
marks left by a spotter during Prohibition days are still preserved, and 
a peep-hole still overlooks the stairs. The same famous mural back of 
the bar records the faces of Izzy, of Joe and "Dad" (who have served 
Izzy's customers for many years, casually polite, vastly unhurried), and 
of the more colorful characters who once gathered here. The initials of 
hundreds of them appear, cut into woodwork and tables. 

N. from Pacific St. on Poivell St. to Broadway; E. on Broadway. 

121. Only church in San Francisco whose services are conducted in 
the Spanish language is NUESTRA SENORA DE GUADALUPE, 
908 Broadway, which derives its name from the shrine erected near 
Guadalupe, Mexico, in commemoration of the appearance before the 
peon, Juan Diego, of the Virgin Mary. One of its two stained-glass 
windows, softly lighting the rich interior, portrays Juan Diego kneeling 
before Bishop Sumaraga. The chastely simple Romanesque church 
building, its twin domes topped by gold crosses, was built in 1912. The 
first church in the United States to be constructed of reinforced concrete 
replaced the old frame structure (dating from 1875) destroyed by the 
1906 fire. In April, 1939 Father Antonio M. Santandreu had rounded 
out his fiftieth year as the church's pastor. Oldest living priest on the 
Pacific Coast, totally blind and partially deaf, he now (1940) is 
assisted by three younger men, all trained in Mexico or Spain. 

In sharp contrast to the austere facade is the ornate interior, ap- 
proached from stone steps which lead to a sheltered patio bordered with 
flowers. On the arched ceiling of the nave, supported by twelve pillars, 
is portrayed in fresco the Holy Sacrament and the Coronation of the 


Blessed Virgin. Behind the flood-lit white marble altar, standing at the 
end of the exquisitely tiled main aisle, is a mural depicting the Last 
Supper and the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. By day, light 
streams through stained-glass windows portraying the miracle at Guada- 
lupe and the Sermon on the Mount; by night, from massive and ornate 
candelabra. Every year during the nine days before Christmas, when 
Mexican families are commemorating the birth of Christ with the 
ceremonies of Las Posadas (the lodgings) in their homes, the church 
holds a novena with special singing and prayers. 

N. from Broadway on Mason St. to Vallejo St.; E. from Mason on 

122. First Roman Catholic parish church in San Francisco, ST. 
FRANCIS' CHURCH, 620 Vallejo St., owes its origin to the religious 
zeal of a group of the Gold Rush town's French residents, who per- 
suaded a young officer of the United States Army to give them the use 
of a small room for services. Father Langlois, on his way from Oregon 
to eastern Canada by way of Cape Horn, was persuaded to remain as 
their pastor. In a new adobe chapel on the church's present site, on 
July 19, 1849, Father Langlois said Mass for the first time in the new 
building and administered the town's first Roman Catholic baptism. 
The French soon were joined by worshippers of so many other nation- 
alities that in 1856 they withdrew to found a church of their own, 
Notre Dame des Victoires. 

In the adobe chapel's schoolroom, on December 7, 1850, a reception 
was given for young Bishop Sadoc Alemany, just arrived to take charge 
of a diocese extending from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. 
Since St. Francis' congregation was still smarting from the indignity of 
having been embezzled by an impostor of funds, Father Langlois is said 
to have insisted on the Bishop's credentials. When it appeared that 
San Francisco, rather than Monterey, would be the chief city of the 
diocese, he returned as Archbishop Alemany, his formal translation to 
the Metropolitan See of San Francisco occurring July 23, 1853. Here 
he took up residence in a wooden shanty adjoining the church, which 
served as his cathedral until dedication of St. Mary's on Christmas, 


Construction of a new St. Francis Church was begun five years 
later. Dedicated March 17, 1859, the fourteenth-century Gothic struc- 
ture of cement-faced brick survived the 1906 fire with little enough 
damage to permit restoration. The interior is an aisled nave of seven 
bays with a shallow apse. In the apsidal arches above the ornate altar 
and reredos are a series of frescoes depicting events in the life of St. 


Francis. Two larger frescoes over the side altars portray the death of 
St. Francis and the showing of the Stigmata. 

NW. from Vallejo St. on Columbus Ave. 

123. In the heart of the teeming Italian section, WASHINGTON 
SQUARE, Columbus Ave., Union, Stockton, and Filbert Sts., a quad- 
rangular oasis of lawn, cypresses, and weeping willows, is an out-of- 
doors refuge from the close-set flats of the locality. In the center of the 
square is a bronze STATUE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, bequeathed by 
Henry D. Cogswell, wealthy philanthropist and eccentric, to: "Our 
boys and girls who will soon take our places and pass on." A plaque 
in its base bears the curious inscription : 

"P. O. Box With 


For The 
Historical Society 

In 1979 
From H. D. C." 

Inscriptions as curious "Vichy," "Congress Water," and "California 
Seltzer" proclaim the virtues of the ordinary drinking water (Cogs- 
well was a determined temperance advocate) which spouts from the 
fountain. On the east side of the park a granite UNITED STATES COAST 
GEODETIC SURVEY MARKER carries the legend: "Astronomical and 
telegraph longitude, United States Coast and Geodetic Survey: Lat. 
37-47'j 57" N. Longitude 122.24', 37" W. Station Washington 
Square, 1869-1880." Facing Columbus Avenue is the VOLUNTEER 
FIREMEN'S MONUMENT (Haig Patigian, sculptor), a bronze group of 
three volunteer firemen one holding a supine woman in his arms 
dedicated to the "Volunteer Fire Department of San Francisco, 1849- 
1866." It was erected in 1933 through a bequest of Lillie Hitchcock 
Coit. Washington Square, which served as a campground for homeless 
citizens after the 1906 holocaust, occupies land donated to the city 
January 3, 1850 by its first mayor, John W. Geary. 

E. from Columbus Ave. on Filbert St. 

124. The Roman Catholic CHURCH OF SS. PETER AND 
PAUL, 660 Filbert St., of concrete construction, lifts its two spires 
high above the Italian district it serves. Its cornerstone laid in 1922 by 
Archbishop Hanna, all but the exterior of the church was completed the 
following year. In 1939 and 1940 its facade again was shrouded in 


scaffolding. When finished the terra cotta exterior will be embellished 
on each side of the doorway by a mosaic of Dante at work on his 
Paradiso and another of Columbus landing in America. In the ornate 
interior seating 1,000, the Roman altar and many gilded images reflect 
the soft light 'filtering from the stained glass windows. Brought from 
Italy, the richly ornate altar, inlaid with mosaic and framed in white 
Carrara marble, bears a sculptured reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's 
The Last Supper. The church's large statuary collection also includes 
a statue of patron saint John Bosco and a sixteenth-century carved wood 
figure of Jesus Christ. 

Up Filbert St. steps to Telegraph Hill Blvd.; N. from Filbert on Tele- 
graph Hill (by motor f N. from Filbert on Stockton St. to Lombard St.; 
E. from Stockton on Lombard to Telegraph Hill Blvd.; S. from Lom- 
bard on Telegraph Hill). 

125. Crowning the brow of Telegraph Hill is PIONEER PARK, 
whose paved esplanade and parkway command a stirring panorama of 
the vast Bay and its shores and the city crowding to the edge of the 
Peninsula. Grown from loam-filled crevices on the bare rocky summit, 
its yellow broom, cypress trees, and stately eucalyptuses bank in greenery 
the base of COIT MEMORIAL TOWER (open Wed., Sat., Sun. 10-4 and 
8-10; elevator 25$), a slim, fluted concrete column (Arthur Brown, 
Jr., architect) whose glass-enclosed observation gallery is 540 feet above 
the waters of the Bay. The tower is named for a life-long friend of 
San Francisco's firefighters, Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who in 1929 left 
funds to the city to be used for a memorial to the volunteer firemen of 
the 1850*8 and i86o's. As a girl of 15, she had been the mascot of the 
crack Knickerbocker Company No. 5. To the end of her life she wore 
the diamond-studded gold badge given her by the firemen, whether she 
attended a formal evening function or an early morning blaze. Where 
Coit Memorial Tower now rises stood, in the middle of the nineteenth 
century, the telegraph station for which the hill is named "A place of 
much resort" in the fifties, reminisced Barry and Patten. ". . . it was 
good exercise to walk up there, and the view repaid the trouble. There 
were . . . refreshing milk-punches to be had in the room beneath the 
lookout on the roof, where privileged visitors could ascend and use the 

A landmark in the history of government-subsidized art are the 
COIT TOWER MURALS, reflecting the contemporary scene in California 
city, factory and field in 1934* which were the result of the first work 
relief project for artists sponsored by the Federal government in the 
United States. Covering the walls of first and second floors and the 
stairway between them, they were executed by 20 members of San 


Francisco's art colony. On the main floor, above the entrance to the 
elevator room, a pair of Cyclopian eyes look down from Ray Boynton's 
mural symbolizing the mystic forces of nature, man in search of 
sustenance, and man in search of wealth. Other walls of the first floor 
graphically portray the characteristic activities of California life with 
their ten-foot figures by Malette Dean and Clifford Wight; industrial 
plants by Ralph Stackpole; a department store interior by Frede Vidar; 
a San Francisco street by Victor Arnautoff; and rich agricultural fields 
by Maxine Albro. A library cross-section by Bernard Zakheim shows 
readers scanning the headlines in contemporary newspapers. A mural 
by John Langley Howard depicts unemployed "snipers" panning gold 
and grim-faced workers massed in front of a smelter plant. The murals 
in the elevator room, executed in oil, show views from Telegraph Hill 
and rolling California landscapes by Otis Oldfield, Rinaldo Cuneo, and 
Moya del Pino. A spectacular portrayal of the Powell Street hill by 
Lucien Labaudt decorates the stairway walls ascending to the second 
floor, where are found illustrations of California sports and outdoor life 
and Jane Berlandina's scenes of domestic life in egg tempera. 

The MARCONI MEMORIAL, at the foot of the steps leading to Lom- 
bard Street, a modern, simply carved bench of Raymond California 
granite containing a bronze plaque (Raymond Puccinelli, sculptor) of 
Guglielmo Marconi, was erected to commemorate the inventor of the 
wireless in July, 1939. A Latin inscription reads: "Outstripping the 
lightning, the voice races through the empty sky." 

N. on Telegraph Hill Blvd. to Lombard St.; W. from Telegraph Hill 
on Lombard to Columbus Ave.; NW. from Lombard on Columbus to 
Taylor St.; W . from Columbus on Taylor. 

126. Twentieth-century commercialism and Old-World tradition go 
hand in hand at FISHERMAN'S WHARF, foot of Taylor St., where 
are moored in serried ranks the tiny, bright-painted gasoline boats of the 
crab fishermen and the tall-masted yo-foot Diesel-engined trawlers of 
the sardine fleet. The high-sterned junks with square sails of the Chi- 
nese shrimp fishermen who supplied the forty-niners with seafood have 
long since disappeared. The colorful craft of the Italians who sup- 
planted them rigged with triangular lateen sails like the fishing boats 
of the Gulf of Genoa or the Bay of Naples have disappeared too, 
supplanted in turn by trim vessels powered with combustion engines. 
And the fish markets to which San Francisco housewives once drove in 
buggies have become neon-lit shops offering "curb service" to motorists. 
But the gulls still fight over morsels thrown into the lagoon ; small boys 
still impale sardine bait on the troll lines; the oldsters of the crab fleet 


still sit cross-legged, mending their nets by hand with long wooden 

Heedless of onlookers, the sun-browned fishermen go about their 
work, tossing their fish from the holds to the wharves, where they are 
trundled off in hand trucks, hanging up their nets to dry in great brown 
festoons, painting and repairing their vessels, haggling with fish buyers. 
Sicilian in origin, many of the barrel-chested crab fishermen sport the 
tam-o-shanter, the knit jersey, and the heavy sea boots of their Mediter- 
ranean homeland. 

The boats of the crabfishing fleet, like their larger sisters of the 
sardine fleet, are brightly painted, with blue and white the predominat- 
ing hues. During the fishing season (November through August) the 
crab fleet usually leaves the wharf with the tide between two and 
three o'clock in the morning bound for fishing grounds between three 
and six miles outside the gate, where each boat anchors within hailing 
distance of its neighbor. In mid-afternoon they return, laden with from 
one to four dozen crabs apiece, accompanied by screaming hordes of 
gulls. When not at sea, the crab boats are anchored at the inner harbor 
at Fisherman's Wharf, where the walks and planking are often plastered 
with nets drying in the sun. 

Usually anchored outside the square lagoon of the crab fishermen 
are the sardine and bottom fish boats large schooners and trawlers with 
deep after holds, their blue and yellow masts and booms towering above 
the smaller craft. In the sardine fleet, Norwegians and Slavonians 
predominate excellent seamen, tanned by sun and wind, their faces 
wrinkled. Powered with 200 and 3OO-horsepower Diesel engines, the 
vessels venture northward as far as Alaskan waters and southward to 
Mexican shores. The dark of the moon between August and February 
is the best time for sardine fishing, because the sardine schools then are 
sighted most easily by the iridescent flash they create as they move 
through the water. The sardine fishermen use the net known as the 
purse seine, which is maneuvered in a circle by means of a skiff and then 
drawn together in much the same fashion as a tobacco pouch. The 
bottom fish vessels use the paranzella net, dragged between two boats, 
which revolutionized the industry when Pedro Costa introduced it in 
1876. In these nets they trap sole, sand dab, rock cod, and flounder 
which comprise 90 per cent of their catch and occasionally starfish, 
octopi, and even sharks. The trawlers of the bottom fish fleet which 
number about 20 rank in size with those of the sardine fleet. It was 
the bottom fish fleet which first used steam-powered boats, also intro- 
duced by Costa for which reason sole were first known around San 
Francisco Bay as "steamerfish." More than 2,000 men and 350 vessels 
are engaged in the fishing industry throughout the year ; the annual catch 
totals nearly 300 million pounds. Ranking first in size of catch is the 


sardine ; second, the crab. The shore community at the wharf includes 
blacksmiths, boatbuilders, tackle menders and net repairers, and the dock 
includes a marine service station where the tanks of the gasoline- 
powered crab boats are filled. Fishing fleet boats are available for hire 
at an average cost of $3.00 per person which often includes cioppino 
(fish stew) with red wine. 

Along the wharfside, the sidewalk is lined with huge iron cauldrons 
simmering over open fires of boxwood, where live crabs are boiled after 
the buyer has selected his choice from the dripping stacks on display. 
Behind the kettles are squirming piles of lobsters, trays of shrimp and 
prawns, shelves decked with rainbow-hued abalone shells, and little 
turtles with brightly painted designs on their backs for sale as souvenirs. 
Automobiles line the curb, their occupants eating seafood delicacies 
from trays. Other diners sit by restaurant windows looking out over 
the masts of the boats moored in the lagoon. 

Lords of the Hilltops 

"I estimate that a dime dropped on the crest of California 
Street would gather speed enough to kill a horse on Market Street, 
unless it hit a Chinaman on Grant Avenue." 


WHENEVER the builders of San Francisco could not go for- 
ward, they went up. In Currier and Ives' bird's-eye view, 
The City of San Francisco i8j8, they already had leaped 
that crescent-shaped barrier of hills which swings from Telegraph Hill 
on the northeast to Twin Peaks in the middle of the Peninsula. Per- 
sistently the long files of houses climbed to the crests and down the 
other side. Where the heights defied scaling even by the cable car, the 
city's uphill progress was facilitated by steps. 

No San Franciscan was amazed to behold even that doughty railroad 
builder, Collis P. Huntington, being towed uphill to his mansion by the 
California Street grip. The pinnacle to which a man's rise in riches 
might carry him had a name in those days Nob Hill, inspired by those 
"nabobs" of commerce and finance who looked down from its crest. To 
Robert Louis Stevenson, the "great net of straight thoroughfares lying 
at right angles, east and west and north and south over the shoulders 
of Nob Hill, the hill of palaces, must certainly be counted the best part 
of San Francisco. It is there that the millionaires who gathered to- 
gether, vying with each other in display, looked down upon the business 
wards of the city." 

When Dr. Arthur Hayne, having made a comfortable fortune at 
his medical practice, desired to settle down with his bride, actress Julia 
Dean, he chose Nob Hill and, hacking a trail through the brush to the 
summit, built in 1856 a house of wood and clay on the future site of the 
Fairmont Hotel. A short time later, a merchant, William Walton, 
erected a more pretentious dwelling at Taylor and Washington Streets. 
Not until late in the i86o's, however, when the mass exodus of the elite 
from Rincon Hill began, was Nob Hill populated extensively. 

Among the first men of wealth to settle there was Maurice Dore, 
banker William C. Ralston's confidante, who bought Walton's house. 
The first palatial homes built by millionaires recalled Amelia Ran- 
som Neville, chronicler of San Francisco's social elite -were Richard 
Tobin's, "distinguished by reason of having what might be termed a 
hand-picked library" ; James Ben Ali Haggin's, "a large gray mansard 
with stables behind it where were all the most fastidious horses one could 



desire"; Lloyd Tevis', where "wonderful parties were given . . ." 
Later William T. Coleman built "a white Roman villa in a walled 
garden" and Senator George Hearst, "a long Spanish palace of white 

The Hill's inducements as a residential site were greatly augmented 
by the advent of the cable car in the 1 870*8 that curious vehicle whose 
means of locomotion puzzled the visiting English noblewoman, Lady 
Duffus Hardy, almost as much as the "newly arrived Mongolian" whose 
remarks she quoted : " 'No pushee, no pullee, no horsee, no steamee ; 
Melican man heap smart.' " 

And from the summit of Nob Hill were rising, in the iSyo's, those 
"really palatial residences, the homes of the railway and bonanza kings," 
of which Lady Hardy wrote. To advertise their new-found wealth, a 
half-dozen "get-rich-quick" millionaires Leland Stanford, Mark Hop- 
kins, and Charles Crocker of the "Big Four" ; David Colton, who was 
known as the "y 2 " of the "Big 4^"; James C. Flood of the "Nevada 
Four"; and E. J. ("Lucky") Baldwin lavished their railroad and 
mining millions in unbridled display. Of wood treated to resemble 
stone they built their palaces, and stuffed them with objets d'art im- 
ported from Europe in shiploads. In their ostentation they were any- 
thing but discreet, as they must have realized when Dennis Kearny led 
an army of "sand-lotters" up the hill one autumn day in 1877 to shake 
angry fists at the mansions. For three decades the vainglorious display 
continued to dazzle all beholders until one by one, the mansions burst 
into blaze as fire swept the hill in April, 1906. 

Risen from the ashes, Nob Hill continues to justify its proud epithet, 
"Hill of Palaces." Where the bonanza mansions stood, luxury hotels, 
aristocratic clubs, and towering apartment houses overlook the Bay. 
Fastidious old gentlemen still reach their homes on the heights by cable 
car. Nob Hill ladies out airing their dogs, doormen resplendent in 
uniform before gleaming entrances, shining limousines attended by 
liveried chauffeurs perpetuate the traditions of the hill's golden age. 
But the days of reckless ostentation passed with the fire; the Nob Hill 
of today breathes an air of subdued gentility. 

Nob Hill was but one of the summits claimed and held by the rich. 
As the rest of the city began to swarm around, the vanguard of the 
"Four Hundred" moved northward to Russian Hill or westward to 
Pacific Heights, where they could dwell surrounded by gardens looking 
down upon the Golden Gate. 

What part the Russians played in the naming of Russian Hill 
remains a mystery. According to one legend, a colony of Russian farmers 
raised vegetables on its slopes for the seal catchers of the Farallones; 
according to another, certain Russians of unknown identity were buried 
there; and according to still another, a Russian sailor of prodigious 


drinking habits fell into a well on the hill, where he drowned. The 
place made its earliest appearance in the city's annals as the site of a 
gibbet, where on December 10, 1852, one Jose Forni was hanged in 
the town's first official execution. 

When Joseph H. Atkinson built his house in 1853 on the south side 
of Russian Hill, it stood alone. But Charles F. Homer, a government 
contractor, soon built next door; and next to Homer, W. H. Ranlett 
erected his "House of Many Corners." William Squires Clark, who 
had constructed the town's first wharf, built the two-story house later 
purchased by William Penn Humphreys. And not far away were 
erected two of the city's eight octagonal houses. 

One of the first panoramas of the city, drawn and lithographed 
from daguerreotypes made from the summit of the hill about 1862 by 
C. B. Gifford, shows a few straggling fences and a handful of isolated 
houses among unpaved streets on the hill's northern and southern slopes. 
From its summit rises the "observatory" somewhat resembling an oil 
well derrick with a spiraling stairway which Captain David Jobson 
erected in 1861. From the crow's nest atop this structure (known as 
"Jobson's Folly"), picnickers who had toiled uphill from Harbor View 
Park on the Bay could survey, for 25$f, the landscape and seascape 
through a telescope. 

Almost from the beginning, Russian Hill was the haunt of the city's 
artists and writers. Of their number, however, Robert Louis Stevenson 
whose "homes" are almost as numerous as the beds "in which George 
Washington slept" was not one, although his widow came here to live 
after his death. Ambrose Bierce's cynicism found vent there. Joaquin 
Miller composed poetry there, as did Ina Coolbrith and George Sterling. 
Frederick O'Brien lived there when he wrote White Shadows of the 
South Seas. There Peter B. Kyne wrote many of his "Cappy Ricks" 
stories, and Stewart Edward White, his novels. Will and Wallace 
Irwin, in the days when Will was co-editor with Frank Norris and 
Gelett Burgess of The Wave, found refuge on the hill. It was because 
he lived there that Burgess conceived his "Ballad of the Hyde Street 

"Rush her at the crossings, catch her on the rise, 

Easy round the corners when the dust is in your eyes!" 

Of the colony were John Dewey, before he acquired his fame in the 
East; Mary Austin and James Hopper, before they went to join the 
colony at Carmel; Kathleen and Charles Norris, before they deserted 
the city for the Peninsula. On the crest of the hill, Rose Wilder Lane 
found inspiration. And here Inez Haynes Irwin wrote The California 
and Charles Caldwell Dobie, San Francisco: A Pageant. Sculptors 


Douglas Tilden and Haig Patigian have lived here, and the painter 
Maynard Dixon. 

In a walled cavern built from an old cistern, "Dad" Demarest, high 
priest of Russian Hill's bohemia since 1872, lived for two weeks after 
the fire in 1906 and he still keeps it fitted up as a den, "just in case." 
Tall apartment buildings began invading bohemia's province on the Hill 
long ago. Higher and higher the newcomers have lifted their steel-and- 
concrete shafts. But despite this invasion, Russian Hill is still a world 
removed, where steps climb and brick-flagged lanes twine up sheer 
heights between green hedges. Gracious homes and rambling studios 
perch among gardens spilling downhill on its slopes. Among the Tudor 
villas and the neo-French chateaux, chastely simple dwellings of plywood 
and glass brick, designed with corner windows and sun decks to admit 
sunlight, air, and the view, have begun to appear of late years. 


(From Market and Powell Sts., the Washington and Jackson cable car 
crosses Nob Hill via Powell and Jackson Sts.; from Market and Cali- 
fornia Sts., the California St. cable car via California; from the Ferry 
Building, the Sacramento St. cable car via Sacramento. From Market 
and O'Farrell Sts., the O'Farrell, Jones and Hyde Sts. cable car crosses 
Russian Hill via Hyde; from the Ferry Building, the Municipal Rail- 
way "E" car via Union St.) 

127. From the verge of the hill, the 2Ostory MARK HOPKINS 
HOTEL, SE. corner California and Mason Sts., above a triangular 
plaza entered between pylons and enclosed by balustrades, lifts its bea- 
con-tipped minarets 563 feet above sea level. Opened in December 
1926, it looks down on one of the city's most magnificent panoramas. 

Famous orchestras broadcast nightly beneath painted peacocks flaunt- 
ing their plumage on the ceiling of Peacock Court. Adjoining is the 
Room of the Dons, decorated with the murals of Maynard Dixon and 
Frank Van Sloun, depicting the story of California with its recurrent 
theme of "Golden Dreams." "The Mark" is the scene of such estab- 
lished cults as the Friday night dance and the annual Junior League 
dance and fashion show. 

To guests of sybaritic tastes, the solid gold bathroom fixtures of 
several of the tower apartments may recall the overwhelming lavish- 
ness of the mansion which railroad magnate Mark Hopkins built on the 
site in the 1 870*8. Presented after Hopkins' death to the San Francisco 
Art Association, the mansion became the scene of extravagant annual 
Mardi Gras balls. 

128. On the foundations laid by James G. ("Bonanza Jim") Fair 
for a Nob Hill mansion which would outshine all others, the FAIR- 


MONT HOTEL, California, Mason, Sacramento, and Powell Sts., 
rears its lordly pile of white granite. Only the granite walls enclosing 
the grounds had been built when domestic troubles interrupted Fair's 
plans. To memorialize her father, "Tessie" Fair Oelrichs undertook 
the erection of a de luxe hotel. The Fairmont stood complete but for 
its windows and crates of sumptuous furnishings had been moved into 
the lobby when the fire of 1906 demolished everything but the walls. 
Under the direction of Stanford White the hotel was repaired and 
refurnished, and on April 17, 1907 one day short of the anniversary 
of the fire it was opened with a banquet for 500 guests. It at once 
became the resort of the elite, led by Ned Greenway, self-appointed 
arbiter of the city's "Four Hundred." 

From a semicircular drive flanked by lawns and shrubs, a porte- 
cochere leads to the entrance, marked by six gray stone columns rising 
six stories to the roof. From the walls of the vast, white-columned 
lobby, splashed with vivid red furnishings, look down panelled Floren- 
tine mirrors mounted in carved frames inlaid with gold leaf, imported 
from the Castello di Vincigliata in Italy. From the lobby open the 
Gold Room, scene of brilliant Army and Navy balls; the Laurel Court, 
fashionable at tea time; and the Venetian Room, where guests dance to 
"name bands." In the Circus Lounge, against a background of gold 
leaf, eight murals by Esther, Margaret, and Helen Bruton depict men 
and animals performing under the "big top." Popular Fairmont diver- 
sions are swimming in the fresh-water Terrace Plunge (open 10-10} 
and sun-bathing on the Terrace Lawn overlooking the Bay. 

129. The PACIFIC UNION CLUB, NW. corner California and 
Mason Sts., occupies the only residence on the hill to survive the fire 
of ' 1906 the massive $1,500,000 Connecticut brownstone mansion 
built by James C. Flood after his return from a trip to New York, 
where he was impressed by the brownstone mansions of the rich. Flood's 
"thirty-thousand-dollar brass fence," recalled Amelia Ransome Neville, 
"flashed for the entire length of two blocks on the square . . . and it 
was the sole task of one retainer to keep it bright." The foundations 
of the Flood fortune were laid in the "Auction Lunch" kept by Flood 
and his partner, W. S. O'Brien, "where an especially fine fish stew 
drew Patrons from the Stock Exchange nearby. Daily the proprietors 
heard talk of stocks and mining shares and together decided to invest. 
Results were overwhelming." 

In Steve Whipple's saloon on Commercial Street was founded the 
Pacific Club, first "gentlemen's club" in San Francisco, of which Cutler 
McAllister, brother of New York's social arbiter, Ward, was a founder. 
It was amalgamated eventually with the rival Union Club, founded in 
1854. Its memberships, restricted to 100, pass like inheritances from 


father to son. Near Point Reyes, in Marin County, members hunt 
and fish in a preserve of 76,000 acres. 

130. Where nursemaids trundle streamlined prams along the shrub- 
bery-bordered paths of HUNTINGTON PARK, California, Taylor, 
and Sacramento Sts., Collis P. Huntington used to stride up to his 
front door from the cable car stop on California Street. Huntington 
bought his mansion from the widow of his one-time friend, David D. 
Colton, legal counsel for the "Big Four." After Colton's mysterious 
death in 1878, the "Four" brought pressure upon her for the return 
of securities on the grounds that Colton had embezzled funds from 
their properties. Mrs. Colton vindicated her husband's name by intro- 
ducing at a subsequent trial the famous "Colton Letters" exposing the 
machinations by which the four partners had acquired their railroad 
properties. From his enemy in court, Huntington bought Colton's 
house. Unlike the mansions of most of his contemporaries, the railroad 
lawyer's was in good taste, copied (wrote Mrs. Neville) "from a famous 
white marble palace of Italy . . ." Its site was bequeathed by Hunt- 
ington's widow to the city in 1915. 

131. Like those Gothic churches of the Middle Ages under con- 
struction for generations, GRACE CATHEDRAL, California, Taylor, 
Sacramento, and Jones Sts., is not finished, although its cornerstone 
was laid by Bishop William Ford Nichols 30 years ago. Its spire 
from which an illuminated cross will rise some day 230 feet above the 
hilltop is still a gaunt skeleton of orange-painted girders. The dream 
which inspired its founders has been nurtured since September 1863, 
when the Right Reverend William Ingraham Kip, first Episcopal 
Bishop in California, placed his Episcopal Chair in Grace Church 
(founded 1850), thus establishing the first cathedral seat of the Protest- 
ant Episcopal Church in America. 

The Grace Cathedral of Bishop Kip's day (California and Stockton 
Streets) was destroyed in the 1906 fire. On January 27, 1914, the 
Founders' Crypt of the new church was opened. Halted by the War, 
construction was resumed toward the end of the next decade, to be 
delayed again by the economic depression. Present (1940) completed 
units include the sanctuary, choir, north and south transepts, three bays 
of the nave, and the Chapel of Grace. When completed the north 
tower will support a carillon whose 44 bells weighing from twelve 
pounds to six tons each were cast in Croydon, England. The carillon 
is the gift of Dr. Nathaniel Coulson. 

The cathedral is 340 feet long and 119 feet wide (across the main 
front). The towers rise 158 feet from the street; the 87-foot-high nave 
extends 300 feet. The use of undisguised concrete for the exterior 
gives the massive, buttressed walls an air of enduring strength. In the 
Chapel of Grace are an altar from tenth-century France, an altar rail 


of Travertine marble, and a reredos of fourteenth-century Flemish 
wood carving. 

Property on which the cathedral stands was deeded to the diocese 
by the heirs of Charles Crocker, whose mansion stood here until 1906. 
Attempting to acquire possession of the whole block in 1877, Crocker 
was defied by a Mr. Yung, whose home occupied a 25-foot strip on 
Sacramento Street. In revenge, Crocker had Yung's property hemmed 
in by a fence that shut out the sunlight. During the ensuing deadlock 
gripmen stopped their cable cars at the spot, hackmen brought ogling 
tourists, and souvenir seekers removed pickets from the "spite" fence. 
It was not until after the death of the principals that the Crocker 
family obtained the property. 

132. Second oldest surviving residence in San Francisco, the AT- 
KINSON HOUSE (private), 1052 Broadway, was built by Joseph H. 
Atkinson and his wife in 1853. Entered through an iron gate from 
the grass-grown cobblestones of the street, the gray plaster two-story 
house clings to the steep hillside, its narrow second-story balconies level 
with the terrace at one side. Through creepers and ferns wind narrow 
brick-flagged paths. The old house was occupied by Atkinson's relatives 
until recent years. 

133. The OCTAGONAL HOUSE (private), 1067 Green St., 
first of a number of such architectural oddities conceived by an early 
Eastern builder, has been occupied continuously by descendants of the 
French settler, Feusier, for whom it was built in 1858. With every 
room a front room, the large double windows on all sides stare like so 
many Argus eyes upon a world of rapid change. 

134. Overlooking the Golden Gate from the end of a graveled walk 
between interlacing plane trees, half-way down the hill from the Lom- 
bard Street Reservoir, the GEORGE STERLING MEMORIAL, 
Hyde, Greenwich, and Lombard Sts., is a simple bench inlaid with 
warm-hued tiles, dedicated by the Spring Valley Water Company June 
25, 1928, "To Remember George Sterling, 1869-1926." The bronze 
tablet is inscribed with a stanza from the "Song of Friendship" (a musi- 
cal composition whose lyrics were written by Sterling) and a quotation 
from the poet's "Ode to Shelley" : 

"O Singer, Fled Afar! 

The Erected Darkness Shall But Isle the Star 
That Was Your Voice to Man, 

Till Morning Come Again 
And Of the Night That Song Alone Remain." 

Sterling's death by his own hand marked for many of his admirers the 
passing of that -bohemia of which he had been one of the chief repre- 


135. An abandoned rain-filled cistern saved San Francisco's oldest 
surviving residence, the WILLIAM PENN HUMPHRIES HOUSE 
(private), NE. corner Chestnut and Hyde Sts., from the 1906 fire. 
The owner's sons and neighbors cleared the debris from the unused 
backyard reservoir and drenched the house with buckets of water. The 
handiwork of William Squires Clark, who built the town's first wharf, 
the house was constructed in 1852 of heavy white oak timbers brought 
around the Horn. Its broad verandas resemble the decks and its third 
story, the captain's bridge of a ship. Into the garden at its feet, flag- 
stones lead from wooden gates, one shadowed by a towering eucalyptus, 
the other by a twisted acacia. Along its western side gnarled cypresses 
border the tall latticed fence built for a windbreak. Honeysuckle climbs 
about the verandas, weeds glut the yards, lattices and fences are falling. 
Like many another ancient residence, the mansion now is a "guest 
house"; efforts to secure its purchase by the City and County of San 
Francisco for preservation as a museum have been unsuccessful. 

136. Above a hillside garden overlooking the Bay soars the tile- 
(open Mon.-Sat. 9-4; Mon. f Wed., Fri., 7-10 also), Chestnut and Jones 
Sts., dominating the rambling, three-story structure of painted concrete, 
which surrounds a patio with a tiled fountain at its center. A con- 
stantly changing student exhibit of murals and frescoes covers the in- 
terior walls. In one of the studios is Diego Rivera's Age of Industry, 
one of two Rivera murals executed in San Francisco. The school was 
built in 1923 by the San Francisco Art Association, from profits derived 
by the sale of the Mark Hopkins property on Nob Hill, where since 
1893 it had conducted the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art. It houses 
the ANNE BREMER MEMORIAL LIBRARY (open to students Mon.-Fri. 
10-5) , endowed by art patron Albert Bender, which contains fine prints, 
current art publications, and valuable books on ancient and modern art. 
A full program of courses in fine and applied arts is conducted for an 
annual enrollment of about 650 students. 


". . . that harbor so remarkable and so spacious that in it may 
be established shipyards, docks, and anything that may be 


THE story of San Francisco is largely the story of its water front. 
As if it had grown up out of the sea, the original town clung 
so closely to the water's edge that one might almost have fancied 
its settlers newly landed from shipboard, most of them were reluctant 
to take to dry land. For years all the city's traffic passed up and down 
the long wooden wharves, sagging with business houses that ranged 
from saloons to banks. Many of the old ships lie buried now beneath 
dry land. Above the level of the tides that once lapped the pilings, 
streetcars thunder. Even old East Street, last of the water-front thor- 
oughfares, has gone the way of the sailing vessels which once thrust 
proud figureheads above the wharves' wooden bulkheads. Around the 
Peninsula's edge, from Fisherman's Wharf to China Basin, sweeps the 
paved crescent of the 2OO-foot-wide Embarcadero, lined with immense 
concrete piers. Where the four-masters and square-riggers once dis- 
embarked, cargo-ships and luxury liners rest alongside vast warehouses, 
unloading their goods from all the corners of the earth. 

By night the Embarcadero is a wide boulevard, dimly lighted and 
nearly deserted, often swathed in fog. Its silence is broken by the 
lonely howl of a fog siren, the raucous scream of a circling seagull, or 
the muffled rattle of a winch on a freighter loading under floodlights. 
The sudden blast of a departing steamer, the far-off screech of freight- 
cars being shunted onto a siding by a puffing Belt Line locomotive 
shake the nocturnal quiet. The smells of copra, of oakum, raw sugar, 
roasting coffee and rotting piles, and mud and salt water creep up the 
darkened streets. 

Even before the eight o'clock wail of the Ferry Building siren, the 
Embarcadero comes violently to life. From side streets great trucks 
roll through the yawning doors of the piers. The longshoremen, clus- 
tered in groups before the pier gates, swarm up ladders and across gang- 
planks. The jitneys, small tractor-like conveyances, trailing long lines 
of flat trucks, wind in and out of traffic; the comical lumber carriers, 
like monsters with lumber strapped to their undersides, rattle along the 
street. Careening taxis, rumbling underslung vans and drays, and 
scurrying pedestrians suddenly transform the water front into a traffic- 
thronged artery. 



Street Scenes 


















ute*c-- ^t, 



A never-ending stream of vehicles brings the exports of the Bay 
area and the West and the imports of both the hemispheres. Stored 
in the Embarcadero's huge warehouses are sacks of green coffee from 
Brazil; ripening bananas from Central America; copra and spices from 
the South Seas; tea, sugar, and chocolate; cotton and kapok; paint and 
oil ; and all the thousand varieties of products offered by a world market. 
Here, awaiting transshipment, are wines from Portugal, France, and 
Germany ; English whisky and Italian vermouth ; burlap from Calcutta 
and glassware from Antwerp ; beans from Mexico and linen yarn from 
northern Ireland. 

North of the Ferry Building dock the vessels of foreign lines. Here, 
too, are berths for many of the old stern-wheelers, and of barges and 
river boats of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers which bring to 
San Francisco the products of central California's great agricultural 

South of the Ferry Building dock the big transpacific passenger 
ships. Near China Basin are several piers from which sail the around- 
the-world boats of the American President Line (formerly Dollar 
Lines). Sailing and docking days bring a fleet of taxis to the pier head 
with flowers, passengers, and dignitaries. When the Pacific Fleet is 
anchored in Man-o'-War Row, the bluejackets disembark from the ten- 
ders at Pier 14. 

Around China Basin and the long narrow channel extending inland 
from the Embarcadero's southern end are railway freight yards, ware- 
houses, and oil and lumber piers. Of the bridges that span the channel, 
most important is the trunnion bascule lifting bridge at Third and 
Channel Streets, built in 1933, one of the largest of its type. On the 
south side of the channel entrance are the Santa Fe Railway Company's 
wharves, with a mechanically adjustable ramp that can be raised or 
lowered with the level of the tide. To adjoining piers are moored many 
large purse-seiners, driven south by winter storms, whose home ports 
include such places as Chignik, Nome, Sitka, Juneau, and Gig Harbor. 
Fishing in southern latitudes during winter, they utilize San Francisco 
as their base. 

Busiest section of the Embarcadero is the stretch between the Ferry 
Building and the Matson Line docks. Opposite the great concrete piers 
is a string of water-front hotels, saloons, cafes, billiard parlors, barber 
shops, and clothing stores. The one sail loft which remains has turned 
long since to making awnings. In the block between Market and Mis- 
sion Streets the atmosphere of the old water front lingers in the saloons, 
lunch rooms, and stores where seafaring men and shore workers gather. 

As on most American water fronts, store windows are stuffed with 
dungarees, gloves, white caps, good luck charms, cargo hooks, and 
accordions. A tattoo artist decorates manly arms and chests with 
glamour girls, cupids, and crossed anchors. Gone today are the bum- 


boatmen, who once climbed aboard incoming ships from rowboats with 
articles to sell; but peddlers patrol the Embarcadero, some pushing 
carts with candy and fruits, mystic charms and shoestrings, lottery and 
sweepstakes tickets. In many cafes or saloons a longshoreman can cash 
his "brass," the small numbered metal token given him for presentation 
at the company pay windows. For cashing it, the charge is usually 
five cents on the dollar. 

Sealers, seamen, longshoremen, warehousemen all have their hiring 
halls and union headquarters in the small area bounded by the Embar- 
cadero, Market, Clay, and Drumm Streets, known to seafaring men 
and dock workers as the "Front." Here the men congregate between 
shifts and between jobs awaiting their turn for new jobs handed out 
through union dispatchers. Their talk is interminably of union con- 
tracts, politics, jobs, lottery tickets, and horse racing. From the various 
hiring halls the men are sent out, the longshoremen sometimes hurrying 
to docks and ports as far away as Crockett in Contra Costa County 
and the seamen packing their suitcases of working "gear" to the ships. 
All dispatching is done by rotation: this is the hiring hall system for 
which the men fought in the 1934 maritime strike. 

The longshoremen with their white caps and felt hats, their black 
jackets and hickory shirts, their cargo hooks slung in hip pockets, out- 
number the workers of any other craft in the maritime industry. As 
soon as a ship is tied up, they go aboard, and as the winches begin to 
rattle, unloading is under way. The jitney drivers pull up alongside 
with their trucks; checkers keep track of every piece of cargo. Mean- 
while, ship sealers are aboard cleaning out empty holds, boiler tubes 
and fire boxes, painting sides and stacks, scraping decks, and doing the 
thousand jobs required to make a vessel shipshape. 

The produce commission district, a stone's throw from the water 
front in the area bounded by Sacramento, Front, Pacific, and Drumm 
Streets, also bustles with activity in early morning. A district of nar- 
row streets lined with roofed sidewalks and low brick buildings, it is 
the receiving depot for the fresh produce that finds its way into the 
kitchens, restaurants, and hotels of the city. Long before daybreak 
in the summer, as early as one o'clock trucks large and small begin 
to arrive from the country with fruits and vegetables. From poultry 
houses come the crowing and cackling of fowls aroused by the lights 
and commotion. The clatter of hand-trucking and a babel of dialects 
arise. About six o'clock the light delivery trucks of local markets begin! 
to arrive. By this time a pedestrian can barely squeeze past the crates, 
hampers, boxes, and bags along the sidewalks. 

The stacks of produce dwindle so rapidly that by nine o'clock the 
busiest part of the district's day is over. Then come the late buyers, 
known as "cleaners-up," to take advantage of lowered prices; street 
peddlers with dilapidated trucks, and poverty-stricken old men and 


women, carrying bags, to search the gutters for fruit and vegetables 
dropped or flung away. By afternoon this district is almost deserted. 

"San Francisco is the only port in the United States," reports the 
United States Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, "where the 
water front is owned and has been developed by the State, and where 
also, the public terminal developments have been connected with one 
another and with rail carriers by the Belt Line, owned and operated by 
the State." In 1938, the State Board of Harbor Commissioners, cele- 
brating its control of the water front since 1863, reported the port of 
San Francisco had "43 piers available for handling general cargo; 17.5 
miles of berthing space; 193 acres of cargo space; terminals and ware- 
houses for special cargo a grand total of 1,912 acres owned by the 
State of California. A shipside refrigeration and products terminal 
equipped with modern facilities for handling and storing agricultural 
products and perishable commodities in transit; a grain terminal for 
cleaning, grading and loading grain for export; special facilities for the 
promotion and development of the fishing industry at Fisherman's 
Wharf; tanks and pipelines for handling Oriental vegetable oils and 
molasses; fumigating plants for cotton; lumber terminals. The entire 
water front and adjacent warehouses and industries are served by the 
State Belt Railroad, which has 66 miles of track and direct connection 
with all transcontinental and local railroads. . . . The Port's ensemble 
of wharves, piers, terminals and commercial shipping facilities virtually 
as they exist today, have been constructed during the last 28 years and 
are valued at close to $42,000,000. All the facilities of the port are 
appraised at $86,000,000." 

Before there was an Embarcadero the shoreline of a circling lagoon 
swept inward from Clark's Point at the base of Telegraph Hill and 
outward again to Rincon Point near the foot of Harrison Street. From 
August, 1775, when Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala first sailed the 
San Carlos through the Golden Gate until September, 1848, when the 
brig Belfast docked at the water-front's first pile wharf, cargoes were 
lightered from vessel to shore. The favored landing place was Clark's 
Point, the small, rocky promontory sheltering Yerba Buena Cove on 
the north, first known as the Punta del Embarcadero (Point of the 
Landing Place). Here in September, 1847 William Squires Clark 
persuaded the Town Council to authorize construction of a public pier 
(see bronze plaque on wall of Montevideo and Parodi, Inc. Building, 
TOO- no Broadway). Sufficient only to pay for the pier's foundations, 
the $1,000 appropriated was exhausted by the following January. In 
1848 the Town Council agreed to appropriate $2,000 more for con- 
tinuance of the work. This, when completed, was the first wharf built 
on piles on the Pacific Coast north of Panama. 

"The crowd of shipping, two or three miles in length, stretched 
along the water . . ." wrote globe-trotter Bayard Taylor before the 


end of 1849. "There is probably not a more exciting and bustling 
scene of business activity in any part of the world, than can be wit- 
nessed on almost any day, Sunday excepted, at Broadway Street wharf, 
San Francisco, at a few minutes before 4 o'clock p.m. Men and women 
are hurrying to and fro ; drays, carriages, express wagons and horsemen 
dash past. . . . Clark's Point is to San Francisco what Whitehall is to 
New York." 

First wharf for deep-water shipping was Central or Long Wharf, 
built along the line of Commercial Street, which by the end of 1849 
had been extended to a length of 800 feet. It was used by most of 
the immense fleet of vessels from all the world which anchored in the 
Bay in the winter of 1849-50. By October, 1850, an aggregate of 
5,000 feet of new wharves had been constructed at an estimated outlay 
of $1,000,000. The wharf building was accomplished in haphazard 
fashion. Not until May 1851, when the State legislature passed the 
Second Water Lot Bill, was the city empowered to permit construction 
of wharves beyond the city line. No less than eight wharves, however, 
had been built by this time. Nearly one half of San Francisco rose on 
piles above water. The moment a new wharf was completed, up went 
frame shanties to house a gambling den, provision dealer, clothing house, 
or liquor salesman. 

Soon, however, more substantial structures were being erected. Of 
these, perhaps the most famous was Meiggs' Wharf, built by Henry 
Meiggs in 1853. From the water line (then Francisco Street) at the 
foot of Mason Street, Meiggs' L-shaped pier, 42 feet wide, ran 1,600 
feet north to the line of Jefferson Street and 360 feet east. Long after 
its builder had absconded to Peru (where he made a fortune building a 
railway through the Andes), following discovery of his embezzlement 
of $800,000 in city funds, the wharf was a terminal for ferryboats 
plying to Alcatraz and Sausalito. From the foot of Sansome Street, 
in the shadow of Telegraph Hill, ran the North Point Docks, built in 
1853, where for many years landed most of the city's French and 
Italian immigrants. 

The ten-year leases under which most of the important wharves 
operated expired in 1863 and in that year was appointed a State 
Board of Harbor Commissioners, which refused to grant renewals. Not 
until 1867, because of litigation with wharf-owners, was the board able 
to proceed with harbor development. A channel 60 feet wide was 
dredged 20 feet below low tide level, in which loads of rock dumped 
by scows and lighters were piled up in a ridge reaching the level of 
mean low tide. On top of the embankment were laid a foundation of 
concrete and, on top of the concrete, a wall of masonry. But the pro- 
tracted litigation with water-front property owners, the decline in ship- 
ping caused by competition of the newly completed transcontinental 
railroad, and the grafting of private contractors who had undertaken 


to build the sea wall all combined to hold up the work. Within two 
years after construction had been resumed in 1877, a thousand feet of 
the wall west of Kearny Street had been completed. From the scarred 
eastern flanks of Telegraph Hill, long lines of carts transported rock. 
In the course of construction, tons of rock were gouged from the hill's 
slopes, and tons more (more than 1, 000,000) were ferried from Sheep 
Island, off Port Richmond. Not until 1913 was the sea wall finally 

The Belt Line Railroad was first debated in 1873, but not until 
1890 was a mile-long line with a three-rail track built for both narrow- 
and standard-gauge cars. At first confined to the section north of 
Market Street, the road was extended southward in 1912 to link the 
entire commercial water front with rail connections to the south and 
thereafter westward through the tunnel under Fort Mason to the 
Presidio and southward to Islais Creek Channel. 

Revolutionary as the port's physical changes have been in the past 
century, no less marked have been the differences wrought in the lives 
of the men who earn their livelihood on its ships and shores. During 
the years after '49, "the Front" gained the reputation of being one of 
the toughest spots in the world. In the last half of the century the 
shortage in sailors was so great that kidnapping or "shanghaiing" was 
practiced. The very expression "shanghaiing" originated in San Fran- 
cisco in the days when voyages to Shanghai were so hazardous that a 
"Shanghai voyage" came to mean any long sea trip. 

Notorious among the crimp joints of the i86o's was a saloon and 
boarding house conducted on Davis Street by a harridan named Miss 
Piggott. Here operated one Nikko, a Laplander whose specialty was 
the substitution of dummies and corpses for the drunken sailors the 
ships' captains thought they were hiring. Miss Piggott had a rival in 
Mother Bronson, who ran a place on Steuart Street. She would size up 
a likely customer, smack him over the head with a bung-starter, and 
drop him through a trap door to the cellar below where he awaited 
transfer to a ship. 

Shanghai Kelly, a red-headed Irishman who ran a three-story saloon 
and lodging house at 33 Pacific Street, was probably the most notorious 
crimp ever to operate in San Francisco. The tide swished darkly be- 
neath three trap doors built in front of his bar. Beneath the trap doors, 
boats lay in readiness. Kelly's most spectacular performance came in 
the middle 1870'$. Three ships in the harbor needed crews. One was 
the notorious hell-ship Reefer, from New York. Kelly engaged to sup- 
ply men. He chartered the paddle-wheel steamer Goliath and an- 
nounced a picnic with free drinks to celebrate his "birthday." The 
entire Barbary Coast responded. Once in the harbor, Kelly fed his 
guests doped liquor, pulled alongside the Reefer and the other two ships, 
and delivered more than 90 men. 


During the iSQo's six policemen sent successively to arrest a Chilean, 
Calico Jim, were kidnapped in turn and put aboard outward bound 
boats. Ultimately, all six returned to San Francisco, swearing ven- 
geance. The crimp had gone to South America. The policemen raised 
a fund and sent one of their number to Chile to wreak vengeance. 
Having found Calico Jim, he pumped six bullets into him, one for each 
policeman, and returned to duty. 

The most famous runner for sailors' boardinghouses was Johnny 
Devine, the "Shanghai Chicken," who had lost his hand in some scrap 
and had replaced it with an iron hook. Devine was a burglar, footpad, 
sneak thief, pimp, and almost everything else disreputable. His favorite 
stunt was to highjack sailors from other runners. 

Of all that lively collection of crimps, highj ackers, burglars, pimps, 
and ordinary rascals, the least vicious if not the least dangerous 
seems to have been Michael Conner, proprietor of the Chain Locker at 
Main and Bryant Streets. Deeply religious, he boasted of never telling 
a lie. When ships' captains came seeking able seamen, Conner could 
swear that his clients had experience for he had rigged up in his back- 
yard a mast and spars whereon his "seasoned sailors" were put through 
the rudiments. On the floor of his saloon was a cow's horn, around 
which Conner would make the seamen walk several times so that he 
might truthfully say they had been "round the Horn." 

The Embarcadero's reputation for toughness rapidly is being woven 
into legend, along with the doings of the pioneers. San Francisco's 
water front is no longer a shadowy haunt, full of unsuspected perils. 
Today, it occupies a place in the forefront of the city's industrial, com- 
mercial, and social life. The water-front men take an informed interest 
in civic affairs and many of them own comfortable homes out on the 


Pier 45, Embarcadero and Chestnut St., whose glassed-in, hexagon- 
shaped cubicle, equipped with a powerful telescope, commands a sweep- 
ing view of the Golden Gate, has been called "The Eyes of the Har- 
bor." At the dock below lies the launch Jerry Dailey, ready to carry 
its crew of old-timers through the Gate to meet incoming vessels when- 
ever telephonic reports from the Marine Exchange's other lookout sta- 
tion at Point Lobos announce that a vessel has been sighted on the 
horizon. The lookout delivers mail and instructions for docking, 
receives cargo statistics, running time, and other marine news. Return- 
ing to the station, he telephones the information to the Marine Ex- 
change, where news of the ship's arrival is listed on the blackboards. 

Since its organization in 1851, the Marine Exchange has kept its 
day-and-night watch for inbound ships, at first with the aid of the 


lookout station erected by Messrs. Sweeney and Baugh in 1849 on 
Telegraph Hill, to which signals were relayed from the Point Lobos 

138. A relic of the old days is FLINT'S WAREHOUSE, Filbert, 
Battery, and Sansome Sts., built in 1854 when the Bay washed at the 
piles of the Battery Street wharf. Originally two stories high, it was 

constructed of stone torn from near-by Telegraph Hill; but when the 
tide lands were filled, the first floor became the basement. Loading 
beams that served the sturdy square-rigged sailing ships of the 1850*5 
still hang above the Battery Street doorways. Today, the venerable 
structure, steel-braced and patched with variegated brick but still 
equipped with its ancient red iron shutters, is a storage plant for auto- 

139. One police boat, the D. A. WHITE, moored at Pier 7, serves 
the entire San Francisco water front. It is a 66-foot, shallow-keeled 
vessel powered by two Diesel motors of 190 horsepower each which 
develop a speed of 16 knots; its two-way radio enables it to keep in 
contact with the Harbor Police Station, under whose jurisdiction it 


operates. Chief duties include rescuing amateur yachtsmen from the 
mud flats and grappling corpses from the murky waters of the Bay. 

140. The HARBOR POLICE STATION, NE. corner Drumm 
and Sacramento Sts., a compact, two-story, gray stone building, is head- 
quarters for police control over the water-front area. One of its main 
concerns is thievery on the docks, commonly known as "poaching the 

mento St., is largely a field hospital for derelicts. Here, prisoners from 
the City Jail and water-front "sherry bums," as well as injured sailors 
and longshoremen receive treatment in two twelve-bed emergency wards. 
The present hospital, at this location since 1926, is staffed by a surgeon, 
nurse, steward, and ambulance driver. Its equipment includes a Drinker 
respirator for use in drowning cases. 

142. The oldest maritime organization on the Pacific Coast has its 
headquarters at the BAR PILOTS STATION, Pier 7, Embarcadero 
and Broadway; for 90 years, from 1850 to 1940, the San Francisco Bar 
Pilots have been steering vessels over the San Francisco bar and through 
the Golden Gate to anchorage in the Bay. All master mariners, the 
20 pilots are former sea captains of long experience on the Pacific 
Coast. They maintain three auxiliary schooners as pilot boats, each of 
which carries an engineer, a boat keeper, a cook, and three sailors. 
Day and night one of these vessels stands by, about six miles off the 
Golden Gate, with sails spread to keep an even keel in high seas. Dur- 
ing its five days at sea, the crew is on constant call. To the schooner 
at sea, the shore station reports ship movements by means of a wireless 
telephone system the only one in the world maintained by a pilotage 
service. Whenever an approaching vessel requires a pilot, the schooner 
is brought around to its lee. In a small boat the pilot is rowed over 
to the inbound ship. On the bridge of the vessel, he takes charge, 
steering a safe course into the harbor. Under the jurisdiction of the 
State Pilot Commission, the bar pilots are obliged to keep a 24-hour 
watch on the bar and to provide pilotage service without undue delay 
to any ship requesting it. 

143. More universally accepted as a symbol of San Francisco than 
any other single landmark, the FERRY BUILDING, Embarcadero 
and Market St., has served to identify the city in the minds of countless 
travelers throughout the world. Before the completion of the two 
bridges across the Bay, this was the gateway to San Francisco, its high 
clock tower the most conspicuous feature of the skyline to passengers on 
the lumbering ferries which churned the waters for nearly nine decades. 
In the years immediately preceding the opening of train service across 
the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the long hallways of the his- 
toric structure echoed to the footsteps of as many as 50,000,000 pas- 
sengers in a single year a volume of traffic exceeded only by Charing 


Cross Station in London. For 40 years the flower stand on the ground 
floor was a favored rendezvous where San Franciscans met visiting 
friends in the midst of a hubbub of talk, newsboys' shouts, slamming 
taxicab doors, and rumbling streetcars. Now the stairways and cor- 
ridors are all but deserted, since only overland railroad passengers and 
Treasure Island pleasure-seekers come and go from the ferry slips. 

Erected by the State Board of Harbor Commissioners (1896-1903) 
on a foundation of piles beyond the edge of the original loose-rock 
sea wall, the Ferry Building was hailed at its opening in July, 1898 
as the most solidly constructed edifice in California. It was built to 
replace the old Central Terminal Building erected in 1877, a wooden 
shed over the three ferry slips operated by the Central Pacific, Atlantic 
and Pacific, and South Pacific Coast Railways, when the volume of 
traffic across the Bay dictated an improvement in terminal facilities. 

Architect Arthur Paige Brown designed a two-story building with 
an arcaded front extending along the water front for 66 1 feet. The 
clock tower, rising 235 feet above the ground a respectable height in 
its day was modeled after the famous Giralda Tower of Spains' Cathe- 
dral of Seville. Like the rest of the building, it was faced with gray 
Colusa sandstone until the 1906 earthquake shook off the stone blocks 
and they were replaced by concrete. Into the grand nave extending 
the whole length of the building on the second floor lead corridors giv- 
ing access to the upper decks of the ferryboats. 

For a year after April 18, 1906, the great hands of the clock dials 
on the tower pointed to 5 117 the time at which the earthquake struck. 
When first installed, the clock was operated by a long cable wound on 
a drum, and a 1 4-foot pendulum; it has since been equipped to run by 
electricity. Each of the four 2,500-pound dials on the four sides of the 
tower measures 23^ feet in diameter; each of the numerals, 2^ feet 
in height. The hour hands are 7 and the minute hands 1 1 feet long. 

Extending the entire length of the grand nave on the second floor 
is a PANORAMA MAP in relief of the State of California, modeled 
from United States Geological Survey maps by 25 artists, engineers, 
electricians, and carpenters, who spent two years (1923-25) fabricating 
it from cardboard, magnesite, and paint at a cost of $100,000. An 
automatic electric control regulates a lighting system simulating day- 
light, sunrise, and sunset and operates a miniature Mount Lassen in 
eruption. The map is 600 feet long and 18 wide, on a scale of 6 inches 
to the mile. It is backed by a cyclorama of the Sierra Nevada. 

Opposite a huge mosaic of the Great Seal of California in the 
floor of the nave is the mezzanine stairway leading to the CALIFORNIA 
Sat. 9-12), its laboratory, and the John Hammond Mining Library of 
9,000 volumes. The museum, fifth largest of its type in the United 
States, contains specimens of minerals from every part of the world, 


facsimiles of all of the important nuggets unearthed in California, and 
models of gold and diamond mines and ore crushers. The institution 
has been supported by the State and by individual contributors ever 
since its inception in 1897. J- C. Davis, member of the first board of 
trustees, has been the principal donor. 

Flanking the main entrance to the Ferry Building are two short 
SECTIONS OF BAY BRIDGE CABLES, the Golden Gate Bridge section to 
the north and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge section to the 

144. From the NAVY LANDING, Pier 14, Embarcadero between 
Mission and Howard Sts., launches ply back and forth between landing 
stage and shipside, transporting crowds of blueclad Navy men and 
sightseeing visitors, whenever the United States Pacific Fleet is tied 
up along "Man-o'-War Row." 

145. Alongside the two-story engine house of the EMBAR- 
CADERO FIRE DEPARTMENT, Pier 22, Embarcadero between 
Folsom and Harrison Sts., are anchored one of the harbor's two gleam- 
ing red and black, brass-trimmed fire boats, and one of its two auxiliary 
tugs. The harbor firefighting unit of 23 men is maintained jointly 
by the State Board of Harbor Commissioners and the city. The fire 
boats are each equipped with monitor batteries, more than 5,000 feet 
of hose, and water towers which can be raised to a height of 55 feet 
above deck. They respond to emergency calls from all parts of the Bay 
and its islands. 

146. Overlooking the China Basin Channel, the STATE REFRIG- 
ERATION PLANT, between Embarcadero and Third Sts., offers 
storage and transfer facilities for immense quantities of fresh fruit and 
vegetables awaiting shipment to foreign markets. In the refrigeration 
plant's 450,000 cubic feet of space, more than 200,000 packages of fruit 
can be precooled simultaneously. The fruit is unloaded from trucks 
on a second-floor platform along the land side and loaded aboard ship 
from a platform on the water side. 

147. At the UNITED FRUIT COMPANY DOCKS, south side 
of China Basin Channel west of Third St. Bridge, one of the fruit 
company's banana boats from Central America ties up each Thursday. 
Occasionally, a frightened monkey or small boa constrictor, half frozen 
from long hours in refrigerated hatches, comes out of the dark with the 
fruit. The firm operates three freight and passenger steamships between 
San Francisco and Puerto Armuelles, Panama. Of Danish registry, 
the vessels are specially constructed for transporting bananas, each hav- 
ing a cargo capacity of 60,000 stems. The unloading equipment on 
the pier includes electrically operated traveling conveyors and belts. 
Issuing from the vessel's holds in endless streams, the banana stems are 
sorted according to degrees of ripeness and then loaded into refrigerator 
cars. The capacity of the unloading equipment is 30,000 stems in eight 

South of Market 

". . . from all around, the hum of corporate life, of beaten bells, 
and steam, and running carriages, goes cheerily abroad . . ." 


HISTORY has played fast and loose with that great segment of 
the city which sprawls southward from Market Street to the 
San Francisco-San Mateo County line. Athwart historic Rin- 
con Hill, fashionable residential quarter of Gold Rush days, the stream- 
lined approach to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge rises from an 
area of factories, machine shops, railroad terminals, "skid-road" hotels, 
and Greek restaurants. Westward from the water front lined to 
Hunter's Point with warehouses, stockyards, and shipbuilding plants 
the district spreads across Potrero Hill to the heights of Twin Peaks, 
Buena Vista Park, Mount Olympus, and Mount Davidson. A broad 
residential district whose most venerable landmark is Mission Dolores, 
occupying a sheltered coastal plain and adjacent hillsides, "The Mis- 
sion" is San Francisco's workshop, where live most of the city's work- 
ing-class population. Here were the ranchos of Spanish dons, the 
suburbs of the Argonauts; but today this is the city's most "American" 
section, an area as socially homogeneous as an Iowa town. 


148. Shimmering green fingers of ivy cling to the face of ST. PAT- 
RICK'S CHURCH, Mission between Third and Fourth Sts., "the 
most Irish church in all America." Considered to be one of the finest 
examples of early Gothic ecclesiastical architecture outside Europe, it 
was rebuilt after 1906 from the charred shell of Old St. Patrick's 
(1868). First mass was celebrated in 1851 by Father John Maginnis 
in a little room on Fourth and Jessie Streets; from this chapel grew 
St. Patrick's Parish, whose first church building was erected in 1854 
on the present site of the Palace Hotel. 

To rebuild the gutted interior of the present church, Father John 
Rogers, successor to its founder, brought from Ireland Caen stone and 
green translucent marble of Connemara. Restored stained glass win- 
dows depict the visions of St. Patrick, the Four Apostles, and scenes 
from Irish mythology. Irish artist Mia Cranwill designed the main 
altar's metal crucifix inlaid with precious stones and the vestments of 
cloth-of-gold, embroidered in ancient Gaelic patterns. 



149. Dusty and threadbare is the landmark of old SOUTH PARK, 
Third between Bryant and Brannan Sts., once enclosed by an orna- 
mental iron fence to keep the "shovelry" from the retreat wherein 
scions of the Gold Rush "chivalry" scampered in seclusion. Today it 
is an obscure little parkway dominated by the approach to the San 
Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Surrounded by cheap rooming houses 
and machine shops, only a narrow elliptoid of turf remains of the project 
which the enterprising "Lord" Gordon laid out in the early 1850*8 
after the plan of London's fashionable Berkeley Square. Factories and 
machine shops occupy the sites of the sedate Georgian houses which 
encircled the park. Here, among others, lived cattle king Henry 
Miller; the grandparents of Gertrude Atherton; Hall McAllister 
until he lost his house in a poker game to a Captain Lyons; Senator 
and Mrs. William M. Gwin; and "Lord" Gordon's family. After the 
exodus of their fashionable tenants in the 1870*8, the abandoned man- 
sions fell into the hands of Japanese immigrants. Deterioration, the 
1906 fire, and conversion to mundane uses have been the fate of this 
pioneer real estate development. 

150. Venerable MISSION DOLORES (adm. 25$ including cem- 
etery; open daily May to Sept. g-$, Oct. to April 9:30-4:30), Dolores, 
between Sixteenth and Seventeenth Sts., its heterogeneous architec- 
ture well preserved after more than 150 years, was founded by Padre 
Francisco Palou. Father Palou has told how the pioneer chapel, dedi- 
cated on June 29, 1776 to "our seraphic Father San Francisco," was 
founded just five days before the signing of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. With the aid of sailors from the Spanish supply ship San 
Carlos "a building was completed which . . . was made of wood plas- 
tered over with clay and roofed with tules. To this was built of the 
same material ... a church eighteen varas [or about fifty feet] long. 
Adjoining it was, in the rear of the altar, a small room which served 
as a vestry. The church was adorned in the best manner possible with 
various cloths, flags, bunting, and pendants from the transport ship." 
Dedicated on October 3, 1776, it was formally opened October 8. 
Here were performed the first marriage, the first baptisms of Spaniards 
and of Indians, and the first Christian burial on the San Francisco 

On April 25, 1782, in the presence of Padre Jose de Murguia from 
Mission Santa Clara, Lieutenant Joaquin Moraga and officers from the 
Presidio, and an assemblage of priests and soldiers, Padre Palou laid the 
cornerstone of the present church. "Into the sepulcher of the first said 
stone," he wrote, "were placed the image of our Holy Father San 
Francisco, some relics from the bones of St. Pius and other holy martyrs, 
five medals of various saints, and a good portion of silver money to 
signify the Treasures of the Church." 


Perhaps some of these sacred objects are still buried beneath the 
adobe walls, four feet thick, which support the old mission's low-pitched 
roof of brown tiles surmounted by a plain Franciscan cross. It has 
survived the years in remarkably good condition, marked neither by the 
decay nor the extensive restoration which have befallen some other Cali- 
fornia missions. The main entrance of the mission is flanked by pairs 
of engaged semi-Doric columns resting on massive stylobates, which 
support six pillars rising from the wooden balcony to the widely pro- 
jecting eaves. Between the four middle columns, in niches cut in the 
wall, are hung with plaited rawhide the three bells brought from 
Mexico in 1780 Bret Harte's lyric "Bells of the Past" which once 
summoned from field and shop the Indian neophytes to midday meals. 
Measuring 22 feet in width and 114 feet in depth, the mission is a 
compact and well-proportioned structure in an architectural style whose 
eclectic Moorish and Classic features are conditioned by adaption to 
raw native materials and primitive craftsmanship. The joints of doors 
and windows throughout are secured with manzanita pegs; the struts 
and ridge-joints of the rafters are bound with thongs of rawhide. 

Approached by a low flight of stone steps, its entrance is a wide 
Roman arch with double doors of panelled wood. The interior reveals 
Mexican churriguerresque design as interpreted by Indian craftsmen. 
As vivid as when painted by the neophytes a century and a half ago 
are the triangular designs of alternating red and white which cover the 
ceiling between its heavy beams. The beams and sanctuary arch bear 
chevrons of alternating red, yellow, gray, and white, painted like the 
ceiling decoration with vegetable pigments. 

Hand-carved are the main and side altars brought with other fur- 
nishings from Mexico. In panels at the bases of the lavender-tinted 
side altars are bas-relief vases of roses which suggest the Italian influence 
in Mexican rococo art. In churriguerresque pattern is the large reredos 
behind the main altar, with its elaborate niches and lavender panels 
framed with ornamental gilt scrolls, garlands, and other conventional 
decoration. The door of the revolving tabernacle brought from Manila 
bears an old Italian-school painting of Christ, blessing the bread He 
holds before a table bearing a tall silver wine chalice. Over the taber- 
nacle and the Crucifixion are two small paintings in oval frames, one 
depicting in faded hues a cross; the other, a cross and a soldier's bare 
arm and clenched hand upholding it. The monstrance is of French 
origin dating from 1757; Indian neophytes made the Pascal candle; the 
confessional doors came from Mexico. In their respective niches on 
the reredos are the original 13 statues of saints carved in wood, of which 
the St. Michael with staff and uplifted sword is the dominant figure. 
This soldier of the cross, between Franciscan and Dominican coats of 
arms, wears red drapery, gilded boots, and a green tunic with gilt 


flowers. A crowned figure of the Virgin stands to the right of the 
tabernacle; an exquisitely carved Mater Dolorosa, to the left. In 
brilliant costume over the right side altar stands St. Anthony, holding 
in one hand a sheaf of lilies and in the other an open volume on which 
rests a kneeling child. Side niches are occupied by kneeling figures 
of St. Francis Solano and San Juan Capistrano. On the opposite altar 
are represented St. Joseph, St. Bonaventure, and San Luis Rey. 

When all this ecclesiastical furniture was installed is not known, 
but at the end of 1810 the padres reported to their superiors in Mexico 
the aquisition of the two side altars, the statue of St. Michael, several 
paintings on canvas in gold and silver frames, various silver vessels, a 
reliquary, and a pyxsis for sick calls. Although the records of the 
mission's construction are incomplete, it is believed to have been com- 
pleted by 1800. The huge granary, built in 1794, adjoining a long 
low residential building of earlier construction which connected it with 
the church, appears in old prints and photographs to form a wing of 
the main building. The adjacent pasture and grain field were enclosed 
"to the distance of half a league" by a ditch. In 1795 twenty adobe 
homes for an equal number of neophyte families were erected. The 
closing decade of the eighteenth century also saw enclosed in the mission 
quadrangle a bathhouse, a tannery, and other structures. 

For half a century, says, Fr. Zephrin Engelhardt's authoritative 
San Francisco or Mission Dolores, this "community formed a kind of 
co-operative association, a sort of Christian Communism, of which the 
missionaries were the unsalaried managers and the neophytes the bene- 
ficiaries." In return for giving up their liberty and such pagan customs 
as polygamy and accepting the daily routine of religious services, the 
converts were assured of a regular diet and decent homes as long as 
they faithfully performed their baptismal vows of labor and devotion. 
"They were informed that all the land they occupied with the herds 
belonged to themselves; that even to the missionaries nothing more was 
due of the property accumulated by the industry of the neophytes than 
the food and the clothing their guides needed; and that eventually, 
when they were capable of managing it, the property acquired by the 
community would be turned over to them exclusively, as was done in 
Mexico. . . . The priests would after that attend only to their spiritual 

Despite its somewhat unhealthy site near the marshes of Mission 
Creek, Mission Dolores remained fairly prosperous until its property 
was confiscated for the public domain by the Mexican government and 
promptly granted to private individuals. During the 57 years of its 
independent existence the Franciscan Fathers baptized 6,536 Indians 
and 448 Mexican children, married 2,043 Indians and 79 Mexicans, 
buried 5,187 Indian and 150 Mexican dead. "The community," de- 


clares Fr. Engelhardt, "at the end of the last general report, December 
31, 1832, consisted of 204 Indians of all ages, which would mean about 
50 families. The herds, on the same date, consisted of 5,000 cattle, 
3,500 sheep, 1,000 horses, most of which were of no use, and 18 mules. 
Owing to the scarcity of able-bodied neophytes, the fields had yielded, in 
the year 1832, only 500 bushels of wheat, 400 bushels of barley, 50 
bushels of corn, and 140 bushels of beans and peas. This harvest was 
about two-thirds of the usual product." 

Twenty-two years later the Annals of San Francisco described the 
mission as a ruined relic of a bygone day: "The Mission has always 
been a favorite place of amusement to the citizens^ of San Francisco. 
Here, in the early days of the city, exhibitions of bull and bear fights 
frequently took place, which attracted great crowds; and here, also, 
were numerous duels fought, which drew nearly as many idlers to view 
them. At present (1854), there are two race-courses in the neighbor- 
hood, and a large number of drinking houses. . . . On fine days, 
especially on Sundays, the roads to the Mission show a continual succes- 
sion, passing to and fro, of all manner of equestrians and pedestrians, 
and elegant open carriages filled with ladies and holiday folk." The 
mission's career as a "place of amusement" was a brief one, however, 
for in 1857 it was restored to the Roman Catholic archdiocese. 

Enclosed by a white stuccoed adobe wall with red tiles, adjoining 
the mission, the old cemetery is a secluded little garden with clean-swept 
lawns whose headstones and monuments evoke memories of another 
era. Many of the graves are unmarked; others are overgrown with 
tangled ivy and myrtle. 

Among the headstone inscriptions which revive for San Franciscans 
their city's Spanish days is one which reads: "Aqui Yacen los Restos del 
Capitan Louis Antonio Arguello. Primer Governador Alta California 
Bajo el Governiero Mejicano. Nacio en San Francisco el 21 de Junio. 
1784 y murio en el Mis?no Lugar el 2J de Marzo. 1830'' (Here Lie 
the Remains of Captain Louis Antonio Arguello. First Governor of 
Alta California Under the Mexican Government. Born at San Fran- 
cisco June 21, 1784 and Died At the Same Place March 27, 1830). 
"Sacred to the memory" of those victims of Vigilante justice, Charles 
Cora and James P. Casey, are other headstones. Casey's reads: "May 
God Forgive My Persecutors." Buried also in the cemetery is James 
("Yankee") Sullivan, early-day champion pugilist, who while awaiting 
trial by the Vigilance Committee of 1856, hanged himself in Fort 
Gunnybags. A statue of Padre Junipero Serra by Arthur Putnam looks 
down upon the west end of the cemetery. In the center is a large rock 
shrine, the "Grotto of Lourdes," containing an old redwood cross 
erected in 1920 which bears the inscription: "Dedicated to the 
Neglected and Forgotten Who Rest Here." 


The "neglected and forgotten" include mostly the 5,515 Indians 
interred here and in the rear of the mission between 1777 and 1848. 
The Burial Register of the padres contains the short and simple annals 
of many a neophyte who died from smallpox, measles, and other epi- 
demics whose periodic toll brought about the establishment of the 
"Hospital Mission" at San Rafael. Of the 196 white persons recorded 
in the old register, the most notable is Lieutenant Jose Joaquin Moraga, 
whose remains rest within the sanctuary of the mission beside those of 
the Very Reverend Richard Carroll, its pastor from 1853 to 1860. 
Beneath the paved courtyard behind the mission is buried Jose Noe, last 
Mexican alcalde of Yerba Buena, whose family headstone is set in the 
red tile floor within the mission entrance. Here too, is the resting place 
of William Leidesdorff, pioneer San Franciscan who was associated 
with Jacob Leese and Thomas Larkin during the Bear Flag revolt. 

151. Biggest dry dock on the Pacific Coast for vessels of the merchant 
marine is the larger of the two HUNTER'S POINT DRYDOCKS, 
foot of Evans Ave., in which the biggest oceangoing ships can be lifted 
high and dry for reconditioning. In great cement-lined troughs, the 
rusting sides of a ship are exposed from deck to keel. Both docks are 
graving docks, equipped to permit scraping of the bottoms as well as the 
sides of vessels, and both are equipped with electric pumps and steam 
cranes. Graving Dock No. 2, built in 1901, is 750 feet long, has a 
depth at high water of 28 feet 6 inches; Graving Dock No. 3, built in 
1919, is 1,020 feet long, has a depth at high water of 45 feet 6 inches. 
When filled, the larger dock holds 42,000,000 gallons of water, which 
its four 75O-horsepower pumps can empty in nine and one-half hours. 
Only dock on the Pacific Coast for merchant marine vessels with a 
draft of more than 24 feet, Graving Dock No. 3 will accommodate the 
largest capital ships of the United States Navy. After nearly five years' 
agitation for acquisition of the docks as a repair base for naval vessels, 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed on June 3, 1939 a bill approv- 
ing their purchase from the Bethlehem Steel Company Shipbuilding 

First dry dock at Hunter's Point was built in 1868 by William C. 
Ralston, then a director of the California Steam Navigation Company, 
upon the suggestion of civil engineer Alexander Von Schmidt, whose 
newly invented process of drilling granite under water was employed 
in excavating the entrance. The cavity was carved almost entirely out 
of solid stone. From Puget Sound, Ralston imported immense timbers 
to line the excavation. For the keel blocks, California laurel was used. 
From the Rocklin quarries in the Sacramento Valley, ox teams pulled 
enough huge granite blocks to cover 13,000 yards. Cost of the dock, 
including mechanical equipment, was $1,200,000. Measuring 465 feet 
in length, 120 in width, and 22 in depth at high water, it was large 


enough to accommodate any ship afloat at the time except the Great 
Western. Before the stone dock had been completed, Ralston and his 
associates, who had formed the California Dry Dock Company with a 
capital of $1,000,000, already had begun construction of a floating dry- 
dock built of Oregon pine. The stone dock lasted until 1916, when it 
was removed and the present Graving Dock No. 3 built on its site. 

152. From the foundries of the WEST COAST YARDS OF 
DIVISION (private}, Twentieth and Illinois Sts., have come ships, 
machinery, dredges, railroad locomotives, and endless tons of steel equip- 
ment shipped to all parts of the world. Origin of the 3O-acre establish- 
ment dates back to 1849, when Peter and James Donahue opened a 
blacksmith shop on Mission Street, which in 1862 became the Donahue 
Iron and Brass Company and a few years later when H. J. Booth, 
Irving M. Scott, and George W. Prescott joined the firm the Union 
Iron Works. The first steam locomotive built on the Pacific Coast, 
for the old San Francisco-San Jose Railroad (1865), was constructed 
here. Between 1865 and 1870 thirteen railroad locomotives, including 
two 3O-tonners, were built. The plant manufactured practically all 
the machinery and dredges used in California and Nevada gold fields 
and shipped tons of equipment to Alaska during the Yukon gold strike. 

Following acquisition in the early i88o's of the present plant site, 
the Union Iron Works began a heavy program of shipbuilding. The 
Olympic, Admiral Dewey's flagship at Manila, and the Oregon, equally 
famous in the Spanish-American War, were built with a speed and 
thoroughness that amazed Eastern competitors and established San 
Francisco as a major shipbuilding base. Since the Spanish- American 
War period, cruisers, gunboats, destroyers, and submarines have been 
built in these yards, particularly for South American countries. When 
the shipbuilding boom of war days collapsed, the plant lapsed into a 
semidormant state. Nevertheless, in the eleven years between 1919 
and 1938 it constructed 142 vessels, including submarines, oil tankers, 
freighters, ferries, and passenger and freight ships. With the revival of 
interest in the merchant marine, the plant was modernized in 1938 in 
anticipation of new orders. 

The Union Iron Works was acquired in 1906 by the Bethlehem 
Steel Company but held to its old name until 1917, when it became the 
Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation Ltd.; in November 1938 it was 
merged with the parent company. 

153. The two stone rollers on either side of the ten-story building 
housing offices of the WESTERN SUGAR REFINERY (open to 
visitors 9-11, i-j), foot of Twenty-third St., were made in China for 
use in the "Philippine primitive 2-roll Muscovado Sugar Mill." In 
;sharp contrast to a primitive mill is the plant beyond the entrance, one 


of the two cane sugar refineries in the West, equipped to produce 2,500,- 
ooo pounds of raw sugar within 24 hours. Working at full capacity, 
the plant employs 1,000 men and produces 20 different grades of refined 
sugar. The Sea Island brand is the staple. The factory consumes daily 
1,500,000 gallons of water, 1,600 barrels of fuel oil, and 8,500,000 feet 
of natural gas as much as is used by the entire city of Sacramento. 

The plant, built in 1861, still utilizes several of the original build- 
ings which survived the 1906 earthquake. Claus Spreckels, founder of 
the firm, established his first plant at Battery and Union Streets in 
1863. When he died in 1903 he had revolutionized the sugar industry 
in the United States. His sons, John D. and A. B. Spreckels, continued 
the work begun by their father and expanded the San Francisco plant 
into the present huge refinery. 

154. On the peak of steep Buena Vista Heights, heavily wooded 
BUENA VISTA PARK, with its deeply shaded nooks smelling always 
of dampness, was set aside in 1868 as the first plot of the city's now 
extensively developed parks system. The view from the parking lot 
atop the hill is far-sweeping. Beyond the line of the East Bay shore are 
the white homes of Berkeley and Oakland; nearer, in the middle dis- 
tance, Yerba Buena and man-made Treasure Island. The massive 
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge swings in a graceful arc from shore 
to island to shore. In the foreground lies downtown San Francisco, a 
jumble of pointed skyscrapers and climbing streets. 

Mount Tamalpais, a slumberous dark blue, rises high above the 
rolling Marin County hills across the Golden Gate, beyond the great 
orange-painted towers of the Golden Gate Bridge rising high above the 
Bay. Angel Island and Alcatraz break the smooth blue waters. North- 
west, the water breaks white against the rocky shore of Point Bonita. 

In the foreground lie the Western Addition and Haight-Ashbury 
residential districts, pierced by the narrow, wooded lane of the Pan- 
handle. North and west dark Strawberry Hill rises out of green Golden 
Gate Park. In the immediate foreground a portion of Kezar Stadium 
with its shelf-like seats shines whitely in the sun at the eastern end of 
the park. 

Bare of trees, the two summits of Twin Peaks point to the sky in 
the west. Tiny roads with yellow embankments cross and wind along 
the mountainsides. In the distant south the rolling hills of the Bay 
Shore district hide the horizon, while in the middle distance and fore- 
ground the populous Mission District lies flat, cut by streets into severe 
squares. In the immediate foreground is Corona Heights, a bare peak 
of rocks, unimproved, with a great red gash in the eastern slope. 

155. In 1926 MOUNT OLYMPUS was made a city park. Ac- 
cording to legend, the hill received its name from the crippled milk 
peddler named Hanrahan, who familiarly was known as "Old Limpus" 


in the adjoining residential area in the i86o's. A partly ruined statue, 
The Triumph of Light, brought to this country in 1887 by Adolph 
Sutro, is mounted in the tiny hilltop square in the geographical center of 
the city; 12 feet in height, it stands on a pedestal 30 feet high. In the 
Brussels original (by Antoine Wiertz) the standing woman holds a 
torch in her right hand and a sword in her left; in this copy the right 
arm is broken off at the elbow and the left is without a sword. Unsub- 
stantiated is the popular story that both sword and arm were removed 
by irate seamen who declared the statue threw them off their course as 
they steered through the Golden Gate. 

The view from Mount Olympus is similar to that from Buena Vista 
Park, but offers a more complete picture of Twin Peaks, with the resi- 
dential section climbing halfway up its eastern slopes. Nearer, also to 
the southwest, Sutro Forest caps Mount Sutro. Northwest in the 
distance is the sweeping lawn of Lincoln Park; to the east, Buena Vista 
Park, encircled by the red-tile-roofed houses of Buena Vista Heights. 

156. The white, brick-red, and grey concrete buildings of the 
FORNIA, Parnassus and Third Aves., occupy a I3j^-acre natural 
amphitheater backed against the dark eucalyptus forest of Mount Sutro 
and Parnassus Heights. The Center (formerly known as the Affili- 
ated Colleges) includes the University of California Hospital and 
Clinic; the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy; a training 
school for nurses and the George William Hooper Foundation for Re- 
search supplements the work of the school. Among the Foundation's 
notable achievements have been the discoveries of Vitamin E and Vine- 
thene, a new anesthetic. Canning and fishing industries have profited 
greatly by its discoveries. 

The colleges date from 1862, when Dr. H. H. Toland founded the 
Toland Medical School in North Beach. In 1872 the school became 
affiliated nominally with the University of California, but continued to 
be supported by the fees of medical students. In 1895 Adolph Sutro 
donated the present site, and with money provided by the State legis- 
lature several buildings were opened here in 1898. In 1902 the proper- 
ties were taken over by the University of California and support of the 
college was assumed by the university. 

Few private patients are admitted to the 3OO-bed University of 
California Hospital, which is maintained almost exclusively for its 
research in medicine and surgery. Those who crowd the clinic daily 
come from all parts of the West Coast, some on funds supplied by the 

157. Clarendon Avenue passes through SUTRO FOREST, over a 
dark ridge of MOUNT SUTRO (920 alt.). Here Adolph Sutro in 
the late 1870*5 after returning from the Comstock Lode a million- 


aire purchased part of the old Rancho San Miguel. Sutro, who 
called his mountain "Parnassus," planted trees here in 1887, after the 
legislature provided that property converted into forest land should be 
tax-exempt for five years. For years he employed a gardener who not 
only tended these trees, but those scattered over a I2,ooo-acre area 
which included Mount Davidson. 

During Sutro's lifetime the forest was open to the public, but it was 
closed after his death when fires started by careless visitors several times 
threatened to destroy it. In 1911 realtors Baldwin and Howell pur- 
chased 724 acres for $1,417,377 and planned to subdivide the land into 

Today Sutro Forest is a rough wildwood in the heart of a modern 
residential district. The ground is covered by tangled undergrowth. 
Ivy clings to the trunks of the tall eucalyptus trees and sugar pines. 
Each spring it is brightly colored by wildflowers and blossoming brush- 

158. Twin Peaks Boulevard encircles the TWIN PEAKS in a 
broad figure "8." The windy summits also are reached by trails and 
earthen steps that lead up steep, grassy slopes. To the east and south 
can be seen the bright-colored roofs and smoking chimneys of row upon 
row of apartment houses, laced together by a network of streets. Mount 
Davidson, topped by its giant white cross, forms a somber pile against 
the background of the western sky. Beyond is the long line of the 
Pacific. Distance lends a serene quality to the Marin hills and bays, 
darkly blue in the northwest. The long expanse of the East Bay shore 
rolls as far as the eye can reach. 

Legends cloud the history of Twin Peaks. Once, said the Indians, 
the mountains were one: man and wife. But they quarreled long and 
bitterly and in time the Great Spirit heard them, and with thunder and 
lightning smote them in twain. 

The Spaniards called the peaks Los Pechos de la Choca ( The 
Breasts of the Indian Girl) in memory, so the story goes, of a beautiful 
maiden. She was softly beautiful, tall and slender. When one spoke 
to her she dropped her eyes in modesty. N. P. Vallejo, son of Mariano 
Vallejo, in describing her said, "Never have I seen a cultured maiden 
half so fair as this untaught, uninstructed daughter of the wilds." 

159. The highest point in San Francisco is heavily-wooded 
MOUNT DAVIDSON (938 ft. alt.), where on bright days the sun- 
light filtering through the treetops throws bright patches of light on the 
grassy leaf-covered ground. From its summit rises a great cross, illumi- 
nated during Easter week, which was dedicated March 24, 1934 at 
7 130 p.m., when President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a golden key 
that sent electrical impulses across the Nation to light the floodlights. 
The cross, 103 feet in height, is built of concrete and steel. Resting 


upon solid rock, its base contains a crypt in which are relics from the 
Holy Land, including a jug of water from the River Jordan. The 
concrete which seals the crypt itself was mixed with this water. The 
first of four crosses preceding the present one was erected atop the 
mountain in 1923, the year of San Francisco's first sunrise Easter service. 
Each year since thousands of people have climbed the steep slopes in the 
hours before dawn of Easter Sunday to gather about the cross for 
services which, in recent years, have been broadcast to the Nation over 
radio hook-ups. 

Once a part of the Rancho San Miguel, Mount Davidson formed 
part of the I2,ooo-acre estate of Adolph Sutro. When George David- 
son of the Coast and Geodetic Survey surveyed it in 1862, it was known 
as Blue Mountain. It remained a barren rocky peak until trees were 
planted on its slopes. In 1911 A. S. Baldwin purchased the mountain 
and spent $2,000 in building trails to its summit. In that year too it 
was named Mount Davidson in honor of its early surveyor. 

When in 1926 the encroachment of real estate subdivision threatened 
it, Mrs. Edmund N. Brown, a member of the State Park Commission, 
secured the help of the Commodore Sloat Parent-Teachers' Association 
and other public agencies in a warm publicity campaign which persuaded 
the city to purchase 26 acres. The area was dedicated as a city park on 
December 20, 1929, the 8srd birthday of John McLaren (see Golden 
Gate Park). 

Western Addition 

". . . monotonous miles of narrow-chested, high-shouldered, 
limber-jawed houses strongly reminiscent of the scroll-saw period 
of our creative artistry . . ." 


EE the backyard of some imposing but superannuated mansion, 
the Western Addition is cluttered with the discarded furniture 
of the city's Gilded Age. It is a curious district whose claim to 
distinction is its disdain of all pretense. It is not beautiful, and yet 
San Franciscans refer to it almost affectionately as "The Fillmore," the 
name of its busiest thoroughfare, and love it, as Charles Caldwell Dobie 
says, "for its supreme grotesqueness." 

Once it was what its name implies the "western addition" to the 
old town but now it lies in the very middle of the city. Its eastern 
boundary is the broad traffic-thronged artery of Van Ness Avenue, 
"automobile row." Westward it spreads as far as Lone Mountain's 
vanishing old graveyards, once far out of town in a sandy brush-grown 
wilderness. Northward it extends to the heights above The Marina, 
and southward almost to Market Street. 

The preposterous old houses built here in the 1870*8 and i88o's 
when San Francisco was expanding westward, and spared by the flames 
of 1906, are monuments to the bonanza era. In them the nouveau riche 
of the Gilded Age attempted to outdo the fantastic wooden castles on 
Nob Hill. What the jigsaw and the lathe could not accomplish the 
builders supplied with Gothic arches and Corinthian pillars, with Nor- 
man turrets crowned by Byzantine domes, with mansard roofs, balconies, 
gables, and stained-glass windows. Interiors were resplendent with 
horsehair divans, marble-topped tables, and bronze statuary. Gaslight 
flickered in dim vestibules and up redwood staircases. No longer fash- 
ionable, the old mansions have been converted into boarding houses and 
housekeeping rooms. 

In the days before the fire, while the Western Addition was still 
the abode of fashion, Fillmore Street was a suburban center of com- 
merce. After 1906 it had a brief and sudden boom. Before the charred 
wreckage of Market Street could be cleared off and stores rebuilt, the 
flow of commerce ran into Fillmore Street and its delighted merchants 
sought to keep it there. Arches supporting large street lamps were 
erected over each intersection from Sacramento to Fulton Street and fes- 
tooned with electric lights. Through five or six years the great days 



lasted, but when Market Street reclaimed its commercial prestige after 
1910, Fillmore Street was doomed. Today its ornate arches are incon- 
gruous reminders of its hour of greatness. Fillmore Street, however, is 
more than a commercial thoroughfare. It represents a way of life, and 
is the stronghold of San Francisco's cosmopolitan tradition. Raffish, 
optimistic, blissfully vulgar, Fillmore Street keeps alive that inimitable 
social spirit of which San Francisco is the larger expression. 

From The Marina, north of the Western Addition, Fillmore Street 
climbs the precipitous slope of Pacific Heights scaled by two diminutive 
cable cars. Down the slope below Sacramento Street are stores, movie 
theaters, and restaurants, a scene of lively disorder. Chaste little 
antique shops stand next door to radio stores; hamburger joints thrive 
beside the austere facades of branch banks. Past the sidewalk vegetable 
stands stroll housewives, pinching grapefruits, tomatoes, and peaches 
with the fingers of connoisseurs. At convenient intervals are neighborly 
little bars offering the tired shopper a moment's refreshment while the 
understanding bartender wheels her offspring's carriage to a quiet corner 
at the end of the counter. And day or night pass laughing Negroes, 
dapper Filipino boys, pious old Jews on their way to schule, sturdy- 
legged Japanese high school girls, husky young American longshoremen 
out for a quiet stroll with the wife and kids. 

Near the southern end of Fillmore Street's lengthy market place, 
where its noisy turbulence gives way again to prosaic respectability at 
the foot of another hill clustered with turrets, bay windows, and man- 
sard roofs, lies the city's Jewish commercial center, the heart of the 
before-the-fire section, where bedizened old houses of the i88o's adver- 
tize housekeeping rooms on grimy signs. Yet, paradoxically, here is a 
gourmet's paradise; along adjacent blocks of Golden Gate Avenue and 
McAllister Street the atmosphere is spicy with the odors of delicatessen 
shops, bakeries, and restaurants. In a dozen strange tongues, bargain- 
ing goes on along McAllister Street San Francisco's "second-hand 
row" for begrimed statuary, ancient stoves, Brussels carpets with faded 
floral patterns, chamber pots and perambulators, Dresden figurines and 
fishing tackle, gilt-framed oil landscapes and canary bird cages. Gath- 
ered in this district are a large number of the city's 30,000 Jews, most 
of them immigrants from eastern Europe, many being recent arrivals. 
But Fillmore Street's Jewish quarter is scarcely representative of the 
city's Jewish citizenry as a whole. Not confined to any one district, 
profession, or mode of life, they have played a leading role in the city's 
development since the first of them came during the Gold Rush. Scat- 
tered throughout the Western Addition, as elsewhere in the city, are 
numerous synagogues, both orthodox and reformed, and their charitable 
institutions and fraternal organizations. Though the city's Jews have 


no native theater, they support a Yiddish Literary and Dramatic Society 
and numerous social clubs, musical societies, and schools. 

East of Fillmore Street, north and south of Post Street, is "Little 
Osaka," home of a vast majority of the city's 7,000 Japanese. Unlike 
the Chinese, they have made almost no attempt to establish in miniature 
the graceful scenes of their native land. For the most part, they have 
simply moved in and put up their electric signs on faded facades. The 
older generation still clings to religious beliefs and folkways, and schools 
the second and third generations in the ways of the homeland. Little 
Osaka's young attend not only the city's public schools, but also one of 
the colony's half-dozen native schools, of which the Golden Gate 
Institute, on Bush Street near Buchanan, is the second largest in the 
country. At the Japanese branch of the Y.W.C.A., in a modern build- 
ing on Sutter Street near Buchanan, young girls practice cha-no-yu f the 
age-old tea ceremony, and ike-bana, the ancient art of flower arrange- 
ment. Young men are taught jiu-jitsu and kendo, in which armor-clad 
participants fence with bamboo sticks. 

The Japanese New Year is celebrated throughout the colony on 
January I when the polite pay calls and partake of sake (rice wine) 
and foods dedicated to the occasion. On March 3 the Doll Fes- 
tival (Hinamatsuri) is observed with ceremonious display of ex- 
quisite miniature figures dressed in the costumes of old Japan and the 
serving of flavored rice, with seki-han, sakura-mochi, and rice dumplings 
wrapped in cherry leaves; the display of dolls during Hinamatsuri at 
the downtown Western Women's Club is reputed to be the finest of its 
kind in America. The Birthday of Buddha is observed on the Sunday 
nearest April 8 in the Japanese Tea Garden (see Golden Gate Park: 
Points of Interest}. The colony's other Buddhist festival, observed as 
well by Buddhists of other races, is Ura-bon (Festival of Souls), cele- 
brated with a religious dance in the Buddhist Church at Pine and Octavia 
Streets on the Sunday evening nearest to the sacred day. At the cele- 
bration of Boys' Day (Osekku) on May 5, intended to inspire young 
males to swim against the current of life with vigor and courage, 
kashiza-nochi (rice dumplings wrapped in oak leaves) is served cere- 
moniously and native folk dances are staged. 

In Little Osaka's restaurants on Post and Sutter, between Octavia 
and Buchanan Streets, are served such delicacies as soba and undon 
(noodles) ; roasted eel and rice; chicken soup, amber-clear, with sea- 
weed, fish, or red beans; and tempura, concocted of deep-fried fish and 
prawns with such vegetables as leeks, soya bean cake, gelatin strings, 
and bamboo shoots. San Francisco's Japanese have no native theater, 
though occasionally a troupe of actors or dancers presents the dramatic 
art of both modefn and old Japan. Japanese music, played on native 
instruments, may be heard at the colony's various church auditoriums 


and language schools. Two Japanese daily newspapers are published 
in the city, each with its section in English for the benefit of younger 
readers. Imported Japanese films, both silent and vocal, are shown at 
a local bookshop. 

Throughout the Japanese settlement is scattered a Filipino colony, 
smaller than the quarter on upper Kearny Street but distinguished by 
the same social features. Wherever these jaunty, small-statured people 
congregate at social functions, the carinosa, their national dance which 
resembles the tango, is danced to the orchestral accompaniment of 
bandores, twelve-stringed mandolins of native origin. The disparity of 
the sexes among the city's 3,000 Filipinos lends a pathetic note to their 
social life. 

West of Fillmore Street and south of Sutter Street live many 
Russians although their folkways are more apparent in their other and 
tighter little colony on Potrero Hill. Divided by opposing political 
loyalties, the city's Russians never have created a distinctive colony of 
their own. The older immigrants came to escape the Tsar, the newer 
to escape the Soviet regime. The ways of both are the ways of exiles 
who strive to keep alive the customs of their forbears among alien 
surroundings. In the Western Addition the Russian residents are 
chiefly emigres from the Russian Revolution. The older generation is 
defiantly monarchist in politics and orthodox in religion. Until recently 
they kept up the courtly ceremonials of their former life, appearing in 
faded regimentals of the Imperial Army to pay each other elaborate 
respects over vodka, tea, and caviar. Annually they squandered the 
savings of a twelvemonth on a grand ball in honor of their Petrograd 
days. Easter is still celebrated as gaily as ever at the Russian Orthodox 
Church on Green Street at Van Ness Avenue. 

The greater number of San Francisco's 7,000 Negroes live in the 
neighborhood west of Fillmore between Geary and Pine Streets. Among 
them are representatives of every State in the Union, of Jamaica, Cuba, 
Panama, and South American countries. Of those from the South, the 
greater number are Texans who arrived after the World War; these 
still celebrate "Juneteenth," Emancipation Day for the Texas Negroes, 
who did not learn of the Emancipation Proclamation until June 19, 
1863. The colony's social life revolves around its handful of bars and 
restaurants, its one large and noisy night club, its eight churches of 
varying faiths, and the Booker T. Washington Community Center on 
Divisadero Street, where trained social workers guide educational and 
recreational activities for children and adults. Occasionally, in churches 
and clubs, are heard old Negro folk songs surviving the days of slavery. 

With its confusion of customs from half the world, the Western 
Addition is more entitled than any other section of the city to be called 


San Francisco's International Quarter. But the Western Addition 
abhors labels. It is just "The Fillmore," and proud of it. 


1 60. The stately, white, six-story MASONIC TEMPLE, SW. 
corner Van Ness Ave. and Oak St., was dedicated on October 13, 1913. 
Of Romanesque design (William B. Faville, architect), the building is 
faced with Utah marble and adorned with sculptural decorations repre- 
senting Biblical and allegorical figures by Adolph A. Weinman and 
Ralph Stackpole. A small rotunda leads into the main lobby of polished 
gray and white marble. In the large halls on the second and fourth 
floors are portraits of past grand masters, many by Duncan C. Blakis- 
ton. The great Commandery Hall on the third floor is surmounted 
with a dome rising 85 feet above the floor; two large murals on religious 
subjects are by Arthur F. Matthews. 

. from Van Ness Ave. on Market St. to Haight St.; W . from 
Market on Haight. 

1 6 1. A collection of frame and stucco structures, the five variously 
styled buildings of SAN FRANCISCO STATE COLLEGE, main 
entrance SE. corner Haight and Buchanan Sts., stand closely together 
on a two-block hillside campus bare of trees. Above the arched main 
entrance to stuccoed, tile-roofed Anderson Hall is a fresco, Persian in 
style, picturing California flora and fauna. The frescoes depicting chil- 
dren at play on the patio wall of the Frederick Burk Grammar and 
Training School, at the southeast corner of the campus, are by Jack 
Moxom and Hebe Daum of WPA's Northern California Art Project. 
A teachers' college, San Francisco State grants teaching credentials in 
kindergarten-primary, elementary, and junior high school fields. Aver- 
age yearly attendance is slightly more than 2,000 students. The Fred- 
erick Burk Training School, accommodating about 450 children, fol- 
lows a modern progressive philosophy of education. Launched in 1862 
in one room of the city's only high school, San Francisco College was 
housed in the Girls' High School until 1899, when the Legislature 
provided for foundation of the San Francisco Normal School in a red 
brick building on Powell Street, between Clay and Sacramento Streets. 

S. from Haight St. on Buchanan St. to Hermann St.; W. from 
Buchanan on Hermann. 

162. The $1,000,000 UNITED STATES MINT (not open to 
public), Hermann, Buchanan, and Webster Sts. and Duboce Ave. (Gil- 


bert Stanley Underwood, architect), rears its fortress-like walls from 
the solid stone of steep Blue Mountain. Constructed of steel reinforced 
with granite and concrete, the building's severe facades are pierced by 
three sets of windows, the middle tier barred with iron. Above and 
between the middle sets are large bas-reliefs in concrete of United 
States coins of various denominations. On the first floor are a marble 
lobby and large storage vaults for gold, silver, copper, and nickel, with 
concrete walls two feet thick. Second and third floors hold offices, 
minting rooms, an assay laboratory, and a women's lunch room. On the 
fourth floor particles from the vapor given off by melting and refining 
furnaces is recovered in a series of tubes; the vapor is electrified with a 
75,ooo-volt current which causes the metal particles to cling to the 
tubes' sides. A guards' pistol range occupies the fifth floor, and all 
approaches to the mint are covered by gun towers; the surrounding 
area can be illuminated by batteries of floodlights set in the walls. A 
network of pipes entering all key points of the building is designed to 
discharge a flood of tear gas at the sounding of an alarm. Both front 
and rear entrances are barred by electrically operated doors made of 
heavy double steel, only one of which can be opened at a time ; the door 
guarding the main vault weighs 40 tons. 

163. The landscaped terraces of 4-acre DUBOCE PARK, W. end 
of Hermann St., rise gradually to the row of old-fashioned frame dwell- 
ings on its western side; once a mound-dotted wasteland on which tons 
of rock had been dumped, the park was opened to the public in 1900. 

164. In the city's western residential districts real estate prices shot 
skyward when SUNSET TUNNEL, E. Portal at S. side of Duboce 
Park, was opened October 21, 1928, with Mayor James Rolph at the 
controls of the first streetcar to make the tunnel trip. Piercing Buena 
Vista Hill, the tunnel is 4,232 feet long, 25 feet wide, and 23 feet high. 

N. from Hermann St. on Steiner St. 

165. In 1860, Charles P. ("Dutch Charlie") Duane, undaunted by 
threats of the Vigilance Committee, fought for his squatter's rights to 
ALAMO SQUARE, Steiner, Fulton, Hayes and Scott Sts., 12 acres of 
smooth green lawn and rustling pine and cypress trees on the top of a 
hill. Wide cement steps ascend to a palm-fringed circular flower bed, 
and shrubbery-lined paths lead to an adjacent picnic grove and children's 
playground. Squatter "Dutch Charlie," chief fire engineer from 1853 
to 1857, gained the attention of the Vigilance Committee of 1851 for 
his shooting, two years earlier, of a theater manager. He was later 
exiled from the city under penalty of death by the Vigilance Committee 
of 1856 for the then greater crime of stuffing a ballot box. Returning in 
1860, he waged an unsuccessful suit until 1877 for the property, which 


had been acquired by the city in 1853. Refugees from the fire of 1906 
lived on the hill, and some of the victims, it is believed, were buried 

E. from Steiner St. on Hayes St. 

1 66. The old Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church was converted 
AND COTTAGE (open Mon.-Fri. 2:30-5, 7-10; Sat. -Sun. 10-12, 
7-5), SE. corner Hayes and Buchanan Sts. Open to all boys over 14, 
it provides facilities for indoor games, dancing and theatricals, a camera 
club, a band and orchestra, and study groups in arts, crafts, cooking, 
gardening, and sewing. More than 2,500 children weekly attend the 
center in a district once noted for its high ratio of juvenile delinquency. 
The property was leased in 1930 through a legacy left by Adolph Rosen- 
berg, merchant and philanthropist, and established as a recreation center 
under the jurisdiction of the Recreation Commission. 

N. from Hayes St. on Laguna St. 

167. Five days after the 1906 fire the Board of Supervisors assem- 
bled in what was MOWRY'S OPERA HOUSE, SW. corner Grove 
and Laguna Sts., a three-story red-brick and frame building erected in 
1879, on whose gaslit stage appeared "Gentleman Jim" Corbett to be 
acclaimed for his victory over John L. Sullivan. At subsequent secret 
sessions of the supervisors, during which Abe Ruef issued his instruc- 
tions, detective William J. Burns gathered evidence leading to the graft 
prosecutions that destroyed the Ruef machine. Since December, 1906, 
when it ceased to serve as a city hall, the sturdy old building, with its 
triangular wooden parapet decorated with a harp in bas-relief and its 
brick ground floor with huge double doors, has been occupied by various 
mercantile firms. 

1 68. Sometimes referred to as San Francisco's Hyde Park, JEF- 
FERSON SQUARE, Golden Gate Ave., Laguna, Gough, and Eddy 
Sts., is noted for the stormy character of its political meetings. On 
pleasant Sunday afternoons every shade of political and religious thought 
is expounded in open-air forums by old-age-pension advocates, single 
taxers, and fanatical champions of religious cults. In 1906 the park 
was used as a refugee camp. The park slopes downhill, its green sward 
broken by tall eucalyptuses, evergreens, and shrubs planted along grav- 
eled walks. In the playground, named for Margaret S. Hayward, for 
many years a city recreation commissioner, are tennis courts, volley and 
basketball courts, baseball diamonds and stands. In the center of the 
park is the low stucco building housing the San Francisco Fire Depart- 


ment's Central Alarm Station with its aerial and high-tension electric 
transformer towers. Situated in a congested area, the park is a favorite 
recreation center for youngsters of many national groups. 

W '. from Laguna St. on Golden Gate Ave. to Masonic Ave.; S. from 
Golden Gate on Masonic to Fulton St.; W . from Masonic on Fu'lton. 

169. Founded in 1855 as St. Ignatius Church and College, the 
Golden Gate Aves., stands beside St. Ignatius Church on part of the 
site of the Masonic Cemetery, one of four burial grounds encircling the 
base of Lone Mountain. Conducted by the Jesuits, the university is 
open to male students of all denominations; only its law and evening 
classes are co-educational. On the broad hillside campus stand the gray 
three-story Faculty Building, which houses the priests of the teaching 
staff; the four-story Liberal Arts Building of gray reinforced concrete; 
a one-story, stucco tile-roofed structure containing classrooms; and the 
sole surviving cemetery structure, a small wooden edifice resembling a 
Greek temple, once the tomb of a San Francisco brewer, in which 
students now attend classes. Offering liberal arts, premedical, law, 
economics, and commerce and finance courses, the institution has an 
enrollment of more than 1,000 students and a faculty of more than 80. 
Established as St. Ignatius Church and College in 1855, it was em- 
powered by the State Legislature in 1859 to grant degrees and honors. 
The school won fame in 1874 when Father Joseph Neri, a professor, 
introduced San Francisco to the arc light with an exhibition on the roof 
of the school building; during the centennial celebration of American 
Independence in 1876, he strung three arc lamps of his own invention 
across Market Street. The university was renamed at the request of 
prominent San Franciscans in 1930. 

170. Standing on Ignatius Heights, the buff-colored brick structure 
of SAINT IGNATIUS CHURCH, NE. corner Fulton St. and 
Parker Ave., with its campanile, twin towers, and golden dome glinting 
in the sun, is a San Francisco landmark. Dedicated in 1914, the church 
is seventeenth-century Renaissance in design (Charles Devlin, archi- 
tect). The interior is still unfinished, with exposed loudspeaker system 
and racks bulging with religious tracts. Under the dome is the sanc- 
tuary, bordered by fluted pillars; above the white marble altar, flanked 
by filigreed gilt candelabra, is suspended an ornate gold sanctuary lamp. 
On the right are the altar of St. Joseph and the crucifix ; on the left, the 
altar of the Blessed Mother and the pulpit. The altars, both of marble, 
stand against blue wall panels ornately filigreed with gold. The two 
murals of the* altar, by Tito Ridolfi, are dedicated to St. Robert Bell- 
armine and depict the seventeenth-century Cardinal of Milan in two 


poses. Ridolfi also painted the series of murals in the frieze above the 
colonnades on either side, depicting the 14 stations of the cross, in which 
Christ is shown in mediaeval tradition wearing an under cloak of dull 
red and an outer cloak of dull blue. Above the frieze are round win- 
dows, to be replaced with stained-glass representations of Catholic 
scholar saints; the two installed depict St. Ives, patron of lawyers, and 
St. Augustine, doctor of theology. In the campanile is the old bell, now 
battered and rusty, that hung in the original church of 1855, obtained 
from a local volunteer fire company which had ordered it from Eng- 
land but was unable to pay for it. 

Saint Ignatius Church was founded in 1855, when Father Anthony 
Marachi dedicated a small wooden building in the waste land of what 
was then known as the Valley of St. Anne, south of Market Street 
between Fourth and Fifth Streets. The present buildings, both church 
and college, were begun in 1910 and completed in 1914. 

N. from Fulton St. on Parker Ave. 

171. From the top of Lone Mountain, the Spanish Gothic tower 
Masonic Aves. and Turk St., lifts an iron cross 115 feet above the 
mountain's flattened crest. A curving road winds up from Turk 
Street, past newly planted trees, shrubs and flower beds, to the flight of 
wide stone steps leading past terraced lawns to an ornamental arched 
doorway. The three-story building, Spanish-Gothic in design, has 
vaulted halls richly furnished with tapestries, paintings, statues, and 
wood carvings. In the east wing is the oak-beamed library; its 100,000 
volumes, the majority donated by Monsignor Joseph M. Gleason, pastor 
of the St. Francis de Sales Church of Oakland, include rare manuscripts 
and first editions. Here are such rarities as the sermons of Pope St. Leo 
the Great ; a set of wills and indentures covering the reigns of the Eng- 
lish sovereigns from James I to George III; several papal bulls, one 
signed by nine cardinals who attended the Council of Trent in 1566, 
and the second by Pope Pius V, before the battle of Lepanto; a copy 
of the Nuremburg Chronicle; and what is probably the most complete 
collection of bookplates in the United States. Americana include a 
newspaper published in the South on wallpaper during the Civil War, 
an unpublished and autographed poem by Henry Wadsworth Long- 
fellow, and letters written by Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson, 
Andrew Johnson, and other notables. 

Having purchased Lone Mountain in 1860, Bishop Joseph Sadoc 
Alemany, Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco, had a giant 
wooden cross erected on the mountain top. When the city acquired all 
"outside lands" west of the former city boundary in 1869, Lone Moun- 


tain was reserved as a future park site; but Bishop Alemany, through 
the persuasive abilities of his secretary, John Spottiswoode, succeeded 
in regaining title to the property. The old cross was replaced by a new 
one in 1875, and in 1900 a storm blew the great cross down, for the 
boys of the neighborhood had tunnelled under its base to make a cave 
in which they gathered to bake potatoes and banquet on other stolen 
delicacies. Again restored, the cross remained on the mountain top 
until grading for the college began in 1930. When Archbishop Edward 
J. Hanna of San Francisco suggested in 1929 that a Roman Catholic 
women's college be opened in San Francisco, the Lone Mountain site 
was purchased by the Society of the Sacred Heart. When construction 
was completed in 1932, the present iron cross at the top of the tower 
replaced the cross erected in 1900. The college has increased its 
enrollment from 60 to 223 students. 

W '. from Parker Ave. on Anza St. to Lorraine Court; N. from Anza 
on Lorraine Court. 

172. In the old Odd Fellows Cemetery at the base of Lone Moun- 
tain, the only burial place within the corporate limits of San Francisco, 
Lorraine Court, originally erected at the entrance of the pioneer burial 
ground in 1898. It contains the cremated remains of more than 7,000 
San Franciscans. Of modified Mediterranean design, the green-domed 
building of white concrete is noted for its stained-glass windows. From 
the rotunda marble stairways wind upward; on its four floors are 
galleries of niches, each named for a stellar constellation. Following 
removal of the Odd Fellows Cemetery to Lawndale, San Mateo County, 
the columbarium fell into neglect and decay. Acquired by the Bay Cities 
Cemetery Association in 1933, the structure has been remodeled and 

Retrace on Lorraine Court; W . from Lorraine Court on Anza St. to 
Arauello Blvd.; N. from Anza on Arguello. 

173. Dominating most of the city's western residential area, the 
massive orange-domed TEMPLE EMANU-EL, NW. corner Lake St. 
and Arguello Blvd., is the religious and cultural center of Reformed 
Judaism in San Francisco. Of steel and concrete, faced with cream- 
colored stucco, the temple (Sylvain Schnaittaker and Bakewell & Brown, 
architects) is designed in the form of an "L" about on open court with 
low cloisters and fountain. The auditorium seats 1,700; besides assem- 
bly halls and Sunday school classrooms, the temple contains facilities for 
study groups and lectures, social halls, and a huge gymnasium. 


Set in colored tile in the pavement before the main entrance is the 
familiar six-pointed star, the Seal of Solomon, surrounded by the seals 
of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The vestibule of the auditorium is a 
low vaulted gallery finished in light blue to contrast with the ivory 
tones of the interior walls. In solitary splendor, contrary to custom, 
the Ark of the Covenant, a gilded bronze cabinet with cloisonne enamel 
inlay, stands out under its stone canopy against the undecorated walls 
and vaults around the altar. It contains two ornate scrolls of the 
Torah, one for regular services, the other for special occasions. 

Like other reform congregations, Temple Emanu-El does not require 
observance of strict dietary laws, wearing of hats or skull caps by male 
members, and segregation of the sexes on opposite sides of the auditorium 
during services. Contrary to orthodox ritual, music accompanies wor- 
ship here. Some 750 heads of families constitute the Temple's regular 
congregation, though attendance is much larger. An important part of 
the temple's program are its classes for boys and girls. 

E. from Arguello Blvd. on Washington St. 

174. Tucked away in a tree-shaded garden behind high walls over- 
run with climbing vines and rose bushes, the little tiled-brick ivy- 
bowered CHURCH OF THE NEW JERUSALEM (services Sun. 
ii a.m.), NW. corner Jackson and Washington St., is a reproduction of 
a village church near Verona, Italy. Surrounding a clear pool of water 
are trees from many lands. Completed in 1895, the church is a monu- 
ment to its founder, the Reverend Joseph Worcester, who lived in close 
association with the artists of Russian Hill. Its heavy-timbered cof- 
fered roof is supported by great hewn madrone trees. The square- 
framed, tule-bottomed chairs on mats of rushes from the Suisun marshes, 
the open fireplace ablaze with pine knots, and the wax tapers in wrought 
iron sconces reinforce the outdoor atmosphere. On the windowless 
north wall four allegorical landscapes of seedtime and harvest by Wil- 
liam Keith are set against plain dark-stained panels of pine. The two 
beautifully executed stained-glass windows are by Bruce Porter. Fol- 
lowing the doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), the simple 
services are opened and closed with a Bible ritual. 

S. from Washington St. on Lyon St. to California St.; W . from Lyon 
on California. 

Thurs., Sat. 9:30 a.m.-n p.m.; Fri. 9:30-6; Sun. 9:30-1), NW. corner 
California St. and Presidio Ave., is headquarters for communal activities 
of Hebrew organizations. The two-story structure of smooth tan con- 


crete with red tile roof was opened in 1933 and houses an art gallery, 
library and reading rooms, a little theater workshop, swimming pool 
and gymnasium, and classrooms and lounges. The multicolored mosaic 
of glazed household tiles decorating the fountain and pool in the patio 
is by Bernard Zakheim of the WPA Northern California Art Project. 
A fresco in the patio, also by Zakheim, depicts the gaity and color of 
ancient Palestine's festivals. The educational program includes courses 
in law, journalism, languages, arts and crafts, and philosophical and 
religious subjects. There are book chats, play readings, open forums, 
concerts, musical recitals, and dancing. 

176. Known to generations of San Franciscans as Laurel Hill Ceme- 
tery, PIONEER MEMORIAL PARK, California St., Presidio and 
Parker Aves., a 54-acre area at the base of Lone Mountain, contrasts 
strangely with the apartment houses surrounding it. Sorrel, oxalis, and 
clover cover this graveyard of tottering stones and forgotten tombs, and 
offshore winds stir the branches of cypress, laurel, pine, and oak trees. 
In 1854, San Franciscans established Laurel Hill Cemetery here far out 
in the sand dunes so that it would not interfere with the city's growth. 
On a wooden board was inscribed a memorial to the first person buried : 
"To the Memory of the First Inhabitant of This Silent City . . . John 
Orr . . . interred June loth, 1854." Some inscriptions were laconic, 
as in the case of Silas W. Sanderson, judge and lawyer, whose stone 
simply recorded: "Final Decree." Others, as this over an unknown 
woman, were elaborately "poetic": 

Pain was my portion, 

Physic was my food, 
Groans were my devotions, 

Drugs did me no good. 
Christ was my Physician 

Knew which way was best, 
So to ease me of my pain 

He took my soul to rest. 

A long list of names important in the city's history have appeared on 
the headstones: Fire Chief Dave Scannell; Mayor James Van Ness; 
smelting works founder Thomas Selby; barrister and bon-vivant Hall 
McAllister ; William S. Clark, who drove the first piles in San Francisco 
Bay; Senator David C. Broderick, killed in a pistol duel with State 
Supreme Court Justice David S. Terry; Bulletin editor James King of 
William, whose murder by James Casey revived vigilante organization ; 
Samuel Woodworth, author of "The Old Oaken Bucket"; Edward 
Gilbert, California's first Congressman, slain in a duel by General 
James W. Denver, for whom Colorado's capital was named; Colonel 
E. D. Baker, 'killed with his regiment at the battle of Ball's Bluff in 
1 86 1 ; William Sharon and James G. Fair of Comstock Lode fame. 


In 1912, when four cemeteries, Laurel Hill, Calvary, Odd Fellows, 
and Masonic, were grouped around the base of Lone Mountain, the 
Board of Supervisors, heeding the protests of the living, ordered the 
area vacated. All of the cemeteries save Laurel Hill were moved to 
San Mateo County. The controversy which ensued lasted for 28 years. 
In 1937 the people of San Francisco voted that the ground be cleared 
and emptied by the end of 1940. Coffins are being transferred at the 
rate of more than 2,000 each month to Cypress Lawn Cemetery in San 
Mateo County to be interred in catacombs and vaults until a mausoleum 
can be constructed at Lawndale. 

N. from Geary St. on Fillmore St. 

177. Hot spot of the "Gay Nineties," headquarters of city govern- 
ment following the holacaust of 1906, and meeting place of political, 
language, and unemployed groups in its declining years, FRANKLIN 
HALL, 1859 Fillmore St., now wears a general air of neglect with its 
faded gray walls and unwashed windows. Built in 1895, the four-story 
wooden building with its auditorium and stage was popular as a public 
dance hall. Here "Professor" Bothwell Brown, "California's Greatest 
Female Impersonator," held his audiences with his "art" up to the 
earthquake and fire in 1906, when the premises were occupied by the 
San Francisco Examiner, Mayor Eugene Schmitz, and the Committee 
of Fifty, composed of the city's financial leaders. The building later 
housed a dancing academy. 

W. from Fillmore St. on Bush St. 

178. The eight-spired Tudor Gothic tower of ST. DOMINIC'S 
CHURCH, NW. corner Bush and Steiner Sts., rises to a height of 175 
feet, dominating the neighborhood. The present structure was com- 
pleted in 1928 on the site of the original church destroyed in 1906. 
Stretched across the tallest of its interior vaulted arches is a rood screen 
bearing in its center the figures of a Crucifixion group. In the chief 
shrine along each side of the church is a figure of Christ, wearing a 
regal sceptre and robed in priestly garments. Woodwork of the altar 
rails and confessional doors is the work of the master carvers of 
Oberammergau, Bavaria, and of Bruges, Belgium. 

N. from Bush St. on Steiner St. 

179. ALTA PLAZA, Steiner, Scott, Clay, and Jackson Sts., was 
reclaimed by John McLaren when he filled a deserted rock quarry with 
rubbish, topped it with soil, planted lawns, and laid out. walks and 


tennis courts. The stairway on the south side's steep terraced slope is 
a reproduction of the grand stairway in front of the gaming casino at 
Monte Carlo. 4 

E. from Steiner St. on Jackson St. 

1 80. The city's largest Protestant congregation worships in the 
and Fillmore Sts., founded in 1854 by the Reverend William Anderson 
Scott, who was hanged in effigy in 1861. A supporter of the original 
church, William C. Ralston, is reported to have scattered $20 gold 
pieces among its pews. 

The cornerstone of the present classic structure with Corinthian 
features was laid July 4, 1901, to the accompaniment of fireworks and 
Protestant hymns. Offering its spacious facilities to other religious 
congregations and to the city government after the 1906 fire, Calvary 
had services conducted in its lecture room by the presiding Rabbi of 
Temple Emanu-El, concerts by the Loring Club in its auditorium, and 
sessions of the Superior Court in its gymnasium. 

S. from Jackson St. on Webster St. 

1 8 1. The buildings, old and new, of the STANFORD-LANE 
HOSPITALS, Webster St. between Clay and Sacramento Sts., are 
the visible record of the institution's last half-century of progress. 
The huge five-story red-brick Lane Hospital was erected in 1893; the 
reinforced concrete Stanford Hospital, adjoining on the east, in 1917. 
The former contains medical, surgical, pediatric, neuropsychiatric, and 
obstetrical wards, and a clinical nursery, and is operated by a medical 
faculty chosen by a clinical committee appointed by Stanford Univer- 
sity. Stanford Hospital, controlled by the same staff, contains 70 
private rooms, a private surgery and a gynecological clinic ward, de- 
livery rooms, hydro- and electro-therapeutic departments, a private 
clinical laboratory, and X-ray, diagnostic, and therapeutic departments. 
On the opposite side of Clay Street stands the seven-story gray cement 
Stanford School of Nursing. Lane Hospital is an outgrowth of the 
first medical college established on the Pacific Coast in 1858 by Dr. 
E. S. Cooper. 

Containing 90,000 volumes, the LANE MEDICAL LIBRARY, SE. cor- 
ner Sacramento and Webster Sts., occupies a three-and-one-half-story 
fireproof building erected in 1912. It contains an early collection of 
valuable works from the New York Academy of Medicine and 5,000 
volumes of me'dical history, which includes works by ancient or medieval 
authorities in the Turkish, Arabic, and Persian languages. The library 


is named for Dr. Levi Cooper Lane, a brilliant surgeon, nephew of the 
principal founder of Lane Hospital. 

W ' . from Webster St. on Sacramento St. 

182. In the DRAMA WORKSHOP, 2435 Sacramento St., a pale 
green one-story building with wide canary yellow door, costumes of 
every country of the world are designed, assembled, and stored for use 
of the San Francisco Recreation Department. Within the skylighted 
room are doll models and mounted water color paintings of the dress 
of the world's far places. Recreational activities sponsored by the 
workshop include puppetry, dance and drama, and adult story-telling 
groups. Here, too, is housed the extensive library of the Northern Cali- 
fornia Drama Association, for which the Drama Workshop is head- 

183. Its ponderous limestone mass capped with a gray Levantine 
dome, TEMPLE SHERITH ISRAEL (open daily 9-5), NE. corner 
Webster and California Sts., is a pioneer stronghold of reformed 
Judaism which has played a colorful role in the city's political history. 
Its stern main facade is distinguished by an entrance recessed behind a 
Roman arch which curves above a vast rose window. The interior 
auditorium is a huge square, surrounded by two tiers of galleries, from 
which a domed ceiling rises 80 feet above the floor. The present build- 
ing was erected in 1904 for a congregation organized in 1850. 

Serving as a temporary Hall of Justice immediately after the 1906 
fire, the auditorium here was the courtroom in which Abraham Ruef 
was indicted on 65 counts of extortion by a grand jury. (During a 
recess, a juryman named Haas, who had been exposed as an ex-convict, 
shot and wounded Francis J. Heney, chief prosecutor and leader of the 
graft investigations.) Barely saved from lynching, Ruef was convicted 
and sentenced to 14 years in San Quentin. Asked by newspaper re- 
porters how he liked exchanging his natty attire for a convict's striped 
gray uniform, the dethroned political boss of San Francisco replied: 
"The zebra is one of the most beautiful and graceful of animals. Why, 
therefore, should I cavil at my attire." 

E. from Webster St. on California St. to Laguna St.; N. from Cali- 
fornia on Laguna. 

184. Site of the first observatory in California, LAFAYETTE 
SQUARE, Washington, Gough, Sacramento and Laguna Sts., is a 
sloping green hill crisscrossed with hedges and graveled walks, topped 
with tennis courts and a small playground. Erected in 1879, the 
observatory was maintained privately for 20 years by George Davidson, 


geodesist and astronomer. The park was created in 1867, but the top 
of the hill was owned by Samuel W. Holladay, ex-Oregon stage driver 
and owner of the famous Overland Stage Line, whose glistening white 
home on "Holladay's Hill" was a mecca for literary and Gold Rush 
aristocracy. Repeated suits by the city failed to dislodge Holladay, and 
the old mansion, with weathered timbers that had come round the Horn, 
was not razed until 1936, when the site was incorporated into the park. 

E. from Laguna St. on Sacramento St. to Octavia St.; S. from Sacra- 
mento on Octavia. 

185. Three tiny fragments of bone, each no larger than a grain of 
rice, repose in three little glass balls enclosed in a glass temple on a 
beautifully carved altar at the HONGWANJI BUDDHIST MIS- 
SION OF NORTH AMERICA (open daily; English services, Sun. 
I p.m.; Japanese services, Sun. 8 p.m.), 1881 Pine St., first Buddhist 
church in America and national headquarters of the mission. These 
sacred relics, reputed to be portions of the body of Buddha, were pre- 
sented to Bishop Masuyama in 1935 by the King of Siam. The temple 
is a pearl gray, two-story concrete building, occidental in line; its slender 
dome is topped with an odd spearlike spire. Beautifully handwrought 
brass lanterns flank its three entrances. 

In the auditorium filigreed black and gold folding panels shield the 
altar and inner shrine, decorated with pastel and gold leaf friezes repre- 
senting Buddhist angels in heaven and birds of paradise. The screen 
panels, when unfolded, disclose the maejoku (altar table), with its 
candelabra, incense burner, and cut flowers in massive bronze urns, 
flanked on either side by a rinto (lantern) of heavily garlanded brass, 
suspended from a bell-like hood. Behind the altar rises the pagoda- 
topped shrine with heavily carved columns of gold-leaf; in the inner 
chamber is a reclining golden image of Buddha under a golden canopy. 

The members of the temple are of the Shin sect, with headquarters 
at the Nishi Hongwanji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. This sect was 
founded in Japan in the year 1226 by Saint Shinran; its North Amer- 
ican adherents number about 70,000. A modest two-story flat at 532 
Stevenson Street served in 1898 as the first Buddhist Church in Amer- 
ica. The present temple was dedicated in 1938. 

1 86. On the northern fringes of the Japanese quarter a hospital 
Octavia and Bush Sts., long known as the "House of Mystery." The 
house itself was torn down about 1927 but a short row of eucalyptus 
trees that once hedged it remains. Here, during the heyday of the 
Comstock period, lived that formidable sorceress known to every San 
Franciscan as Mammy Pleasant. Ostensibly, the great mansion with 


its mansard roof, its inner courtyard, and its mirror-lined ballroom, 
which was never used for dancing, was the private residence of Thomas 
Bell, reputedly the power behind William C. Ralston's throne in the 
Bank of California. Mammy Pleasant was to all appearances his 
housekeeper. There was scarcely a man in public life who did not 
treat the scrawny little Negress with utmost deference. 

The truth was, of course, that she was a procuress of unusual re- 
sources and connections, and a remarkable cook. On her arrival in San 
Francisco in 1848, she quickly attracted to her boarding house the 
leaders of the town. The entertainment she provided soon enabled her 
to open a whole chain of boarding houses. Obeying the injunction of 
her dead first husband she devoted part of her legacy received from him 
to the Abolitionist cause, traveling to Boston, where she presented John 
Brown with a draft for $30,000. When Brown was captured at 
Harper's Ferry, a note was found on him, signed with illiterate Mammy 
Pleasant's "M. P." It read: "The ax is laid at the foot of the tree. 
When the first blow is struck, there will be more money to help." 

To ensure this, Mammy returned to San Francisco, set up her 
menage in the mansion among the blue gum trees, and settled down to 
her long career of forwarding the infidelities of the city's men of affairs. 
She squandered Thomas Bell's fortune on her weird schemes, turned 
his wife against him, kept him virtually a prisoner, and starved his 
children. When he died of a fall into the courtyard from a third-story 
balcony, it was believed that his "housekeeper" had pushed him over. 
She carried on for years a bitter legal duel with members of his family. 
She died at the age of 92, penniless, asking only that her tombstone 
bear this epitaph: "She was a friend of John Brown." 

E. from Octavia St. on Bush St. 

187. First of its denomination on the Pacific Coast, TRINITY 
EPISCOPAL CHURCH, NE. corner Gough and Bush Sts., was 
founded in 1849. The present structure, built of rough-hewn Colusa 
sandstone, Norman in style, is flanked at either end of its main facade 
by bastions with conical turrets which contribute to the massive effect 
imposed by the square central belfry (Hobart, Cram, and Ferguson, 
architects). The interior nave of three bays contains lancet windows 
of stained glass portraying Biblical subjects, the work of Belgian crafts- 
men. Buried beneath the chancel is the Reverend Flavel Scott Mines, 
founder of the church, who died in 1852. Beside the altar stands a 
bronze angel with folded wings who bears aloft a flat brass scroll on- 
which rests a large Bible. Until 1867 services were held in a private 
house. From that date until the erection of the present church in 1892, 


its congregation met in a large frame building at Post and Powell 

S. from Bush St. on Gough St. to O'Farrell St.; E. from Gough on 

1 88. Its peaked gray roof rising between a cone-topped turret and a 
square pyramid-roofed bell tower, ST. MARK'S EVANGELICAL 
LUTHERAN CHURCH (services Sun. 8:30 and n a.m.}, O'Farrell 
St. between Gough and Franklin Sts., was the first Lutheran Church in 
California, founded in 1849. The red brick facade of the present 
structure, dedicated in 1895, is of Romanesque design. In n stained 
glass windows, which shed rich red, blue, and purple light on an 
interior decorated in French ivory and gold, are represented The Pascal 
Lamb, The Holy Writ, The Sacred Chalice, The Cross, The Crown 
of Christ the King, The Ten Commandments, and the name "Jehovah" 
in Hebrew. Behind the ornate altar rise the gilded pipes of the great 
organ, distinguished for its trumpet brass reed with clarion martial 
tone. One of the first pipe organs built in San Francisco, it was installed 
by Felix Schoenstein in 1886 in the church's former building on Geary 
Street. Until 1864, when orthodox members of its congregation with- 
drew to found the Church of St. Paulus, Masons and others belonging 
to secret orders were barred from membership. Following the 1906 
disaster the slightly damaged church served as a refugee and hospital 
center. Until 1931 services were conducted in German. 

189. Seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishopric of Northern Cali- 
NW. corner O'Farrell St. and Van Ness Ave., is a huge ungainly red- 
brick structure of German Gothic design; its octagonal tower and 
spire and massive flight of granite steps are out of proportion to its 
severe and unimposing facade. The interior offers a contrasting aspect 
of simple magnificence. Royal Bavarian windows of stained glass lend 
it an atmosphere of symbolic grandeur. The three sections of the 
Assumption rise behind the archbishop's green and gold throne by the 
high altar, under a rose window in four segments. Behind the two 
small galleries are rose windows in 12 divisions. Along the north side 
of the nave are four larger windows representing the Wedding Feast 
at Cana, Christ in the Garden of Gesthemane, The Good Shepherd, 
and Peter Receiving the Keys. On the south side are The Meeting of 
Mary and Elizabeth, The Nativity, The Presentation in the Temple, 
and The Flight Into Egypt. The Stations of the Cross on either side 

'of nave and transept are represented in white, gold, and blue enamel. 


N. from O'Farrell St. on Van Ness Ave. to Geary St.; W. from Van 
Ness on Geary 

190. Rich in historic tradition, the FIRST UNITARIAN 
CHURCH, SW. corner Geary and Franklin Sts., an ivy-covered, gray 
stone edifice of modified Romanesque and Gothic design, with a square 
turret in place of the bell tower demolished by the earthquake of 1906, 
is reminiscent in its quiet dignity of the churches of the English country- 
side. In the little strip of churchyard is an oblong white marble sar- 
cophagus bearing the simple inscription, "Thomas Starr King, born 
December 17, A. D. 1824 Died March 4, A. D. 1864"; here repose 
the remains of the militant pastor of the Civil War period with whom 
the church long has been identified. The church has a great circu- 
lar rose window and perpendicular Gothic windows of stained glass. 
Bruce Porter's allegorical painting, Lo At Length The True Light, 
appears over the altar, which is flanked on either side by winged angels 
sculptured by Arthur Putnam. The marble baptismal font with rows 
of finely chiseled cherubs, under a spired Gothic canopy rising to the 
vaulted ceiling of the church, is the gift of the First Congregational 
Church of New York to the First Unitarian Church in San Francisco, 
made in 1864. 

The city's first Unitarian religious service was preached on October 
20, 1850, by the Reverend Charles A. Farley. A Unitarian society 
was soon formed and by 1852 was holding services in Armory Hall, 
then the largest auditorium in town. In a church of its own on Stock- 
ton Street the society began meeting in 1853. To this church in 1860 
came a young Boston clergyman, Thomas Starr King. When the Civil 
War began a year later, he canvassed the State, helping to swing Cali- 
fornia to the side of the Union with his eloquence. Through King's 
efforts the cornerstone of a new church on Geary Street was laid in 
December, 1862. Only two months after its dedication January 10, 
1864, King died of diphtheria. The Reverend Horatio Stebbins suc- 
ceeded him and during the 35 years of his pastorate, many distinguished 
visitors spoke from the pulpit, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, 
Julia Ward Howe, Edward Everett Hale, Charles Eliot, and David 
Starr Jordan. Since the dedication of the present church on February 
10, 1889, its pastor and membership have carried on the tradition of 
Thomas Starr King, playing a leading role in movements for political, 
economic, and social reform. 

N. from Geary St. on Franklin St. to Post St.; E. from Franklin on 
Post to Van Ness Ave.; N. from Post on Van Ness 

191. The chaste white granite and limestone SCOTTISH RITE 
TEMPLE, NW. corner Van Ness Ave. and Sutter St. (Carl Werner, 


architect), was dedicated in 1911 by the Masonic Order of Scottish 
Rite, first established in San Francisco in 1868. It has been used by 
clubs, political groups, and trade unions for grand annual balls, public 
forums, and convention headquarters. Beyond the lobby is the lodge 
room, seating 1,500, a vast two-storied chamber of English Tudor 
design, with high stained-glass windows lighting the dark walnut panels 
of the room. On the fourth and top floor is a library (open to members 
only) of 2,500 volumes, including a copy of Albert Magnus' Sermons, 
printed in 1479, bound in leather with covers of thin wood; the History 
of St. Joan, printed in 1722; and what is perhaps the only complete 
Catholic Encyclopedia on the Pacific Coast. 

192. Home of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America is 
CATHEDRAL, NW. corner Van Ness Ave. and Green St., where on 
Orthodox Sunday (first Sunday in Lent) deep-voiced Russian singers 
intone their centuries-old laments for the godless. The first Russian 
cathedral in the United States and the oldest Russian church in San 
Francisco, the present structure is authentically Byzantine in design, a 
buff-colored frame building, its green dome surmounted with a gold 
Greek cross. It faces east in the tradition of the Greek Orthodox 
Church. Within the belfry hang five bells, the largest of which, weigh- 
ing two and one-half tons, was made expressly for the church in com- 
memoration of the miraculous escape from death of the * 'little Father 
of all the Russias" in 1884. The church has two richly decorated audi- 
toriums, one for daily services, the other -for Sundays and holy days. 
Its murals depicting religious subjects are by Gleb Ilyn. The cathedral 
has no benches or pews, the congregation being obliged to stand or 
kneel on the bare floor while priests in colored vestments, thin and 
frayed from decades of use, intone the mass and vespers. Ikons are 
usually kept covered on a special table except during Easter, when they 
are placed on the altar for 40 days. 

The first known services of the Russian Greek Orthodox Church 
held in San Francisco were conducted in 1863, when a priest from a 
Russian ship in the Bay baptized a Serbian infant in a private house. 
With the arrival of many Russian immigrants from Alaska, Father 
loann Metropolsky came in 1871 and organized the St. Alexander 
Russian Orthodox Church. In 1882-83 a cathedral was established on 
Powell Street; the memorial bells hung in the church were rescued 
during the fire and earthquake of 1906 and installed in the present 
structure after its dedication in 1909. The present titular head of the 
cathedral, Bishop Metropolitan Theopolis Bashkrovsky, former Tsarist 
army chaplain during the World War, was appointed bishop of San 
Francisco in 1*932 and Metropolitan of the Russian Church in North 
America in 1934. 


W . from Van Ness Ave. on Union St. 

193. Of polyglot design, the HINDU TEMPLE (open Wed. 8 
p.m.}, SW. corner Filbert and Webster Sts., rears from its third story 
a bewildering array of minarets, cupolas, and towers of Gothic, Hindu, 
Shiva, and Moslem design. The upward-pointing architectural features 
of the temple, headquarters of the Vedanta Society, are intended to sym- 
bolize the goal of Vedanta teachings, ultimate perfection. To each of 
the six towers is attached a symbolic meaning: one, decorated with cres- 
cent, sun, and trident, symbolizes the path to knowledge through devo- 
tion and work. In the chapel and auditorium on the first floor, above 
the altar, hang two life-size portraits, one of Ramakrishna, patron saint 
of the Vedanta movement, the other of Swami Trigunatita, head of 
the temple at the time of its completion in 1904. Beside the platform 
is a large portrait of Swami Vivekananda, who brought Hinduism to the 
West and under whose guidance the temple was founded. 


product include the ground chocolate originated by Domingo Ghirar- 
delli. In the main office of the plant is a large mixing machine brought 
round the Horn from France in the i86o's a heavy circular chocolate 
mill three feet in diameter with stone rollers used for grinding the 
raw cacao and a primitive Mexican hand mill used by the Aztecs. 
(No better medium for the grinding of chocolate than stone has yet 
been discovered.) 

S. on Polk St. to Bay St.; W. on Bay 

197. Thrust northward into the Bay, its land boundaries Van Ness 
Ave., Bay and Laguna Sts. (main entrance Van Ness Ave. and Bay 
SERVE (usually open 24 hrs. ; subject to close without notice), whose 
68*/2 acres enclose the site of Spanish fortifications built nearly 150 
years ago. On April 4, 1797, Governor Diego de Borica instructed 
engineer Alberto de Cordoba to complete certain necessary repairs of 
Castillo de San Joaquin and to construct another battery where it 
would "further impede the anchorage of any hostile vessel in La Yerba 
Buena." Location chosen by De Cordoba for his Battery San Jose 
was Point Medanos (later called San Jose), today's Black Point, north- 
ernmost natural promontory of the reserve. Original defense for the 
little battery was five brass eight-pounders; by 1798 it had achieved a 
sixth cannon; but by the turn of the century it was virtually abandoned. 
When General and Mrs. John C. Fremont in the 1850*5 moved to 
Black Point said to have been so named because of its dense, somber 
laurel thickets there was no trace of Battery San Jose. 

The area was set aside for military purposes by President Millard 
Fillmore in 1850-51, but not until 1863 were troops quartered in the 
area. Meanwhile lawsuits had been waged over boundaries, water 
rights, and private claims which were to reduce the original loo-acre 
reserve to its present size. 

Unsuccessful in their fight to gain possession of the area were Fre- 
mont and four friends who claimed it by squatters' rights. Colonel 
Richard Barnes Mason carried out the Presidential order to dispossess, 
thus incurring an enmity that culminated in a challenge by Fremont 
to a duel, which was never fought. In 1882 the reservation was named 
for Colonel Mason (California military governor 1847-49). 

Fort Mason today contains 102 frame buildings, including several 
commissary warehouses, a supply depot and 13 units occupied by officers. 
Residential headquarters of the commander of the Fourth Army (Sev- 
enth and Ninth Corps Areas), a rambling old house overlooking the 
Bay, incorporates the little one-room headquarters built by Major 
Leonidas Haskell about 1850. 


Point of embarcation and arrival for troops stationed abroad are 
the three ARMY TRANSPORT DOCKS in the northwestern corner of the 
reserve (foot of Laguna St.). A primary port of the United States 
Army Transport Service, Fort Mason is the home of the Army trans- 
ports Grant, Somme, Cambrai, and Meigs. Annually provisions valued 
at more than $12,000,000 are shipped to Army outposts in Alaska, 
Panama Canal Zone, Hawaii, the Philippines, and the Far East. 
Through a tunnel under the reservation Belt Line locomotives haul 
freight cars between the Embarcadero and the docks. More than 
25,000 replacement troops leave here each year to relieve garrisons in 
service overseas. 

N. from Bay St. on Laguna St. to Marina Blvd.; NW. on Marina (or 
NW. from Bay St. and Van Ness Ave. on a Fort Mason road to 
Marina Blvd.; NW. on Marina) 

Comparatively new and fashionable is that residential district of 
stuccoed flats and broad-windowed apartment buildings known as The 
Marina, extending from Van Ness Avenue west to the Presidio and 
north from Lombard Street to Fort Mason and the Bay. The older 
part of the district was built up during the Panama-Pacific International 
Exposition of 1915; the newer, since 1922, on some 50 of the several 
hundred blocks on which the exposition was located. 

198. Lying north of broad Marina Boulevard between Webster St. 
and Yacht Harbor, are the block-wide, level lawns of MARINA PARK 
(parking area; comfort stations). Baseball and football players, pic- 
nickers, and kite and model airplane enthusiasts have replaced the local 
amateur aviators who made the park their unofficial landing field until 
1925. In that year Marina residents objected so strenuously to the 
aerial menaces to their lives and property that the Park Commission 
decided to use the land for its originally intended recreational purposes. 
The tiny cove at the eastern end of Marina Park, near the Army Trans- 
port Docks, is crowded with small fishing craft (boats rented). Where 
the oil-covered pilings of the abandoned wharves push up from the 
water, implacable fishermen stand guard over bobbing corks or haul 
oily crabnets from the cove. Cleaner is the small enclosed bathing 
lagoon at the park's western end. 

199. Berthed in municipally owned YACHT HARBOR, Marina 
Blvd., Scott, and Lyon Sts., are about 2OO craft, ranging in size from 
the tiniest of catboats to Templeton Crocker's black-hulled, two-masted 
schooner Zaca, veteran of far-ranging scientific expeditions. Sail and 
motor boats moored here dot the Bay on pleasant Sundays and par- 
ticipate in periodical regattas. 

200. On the i,5OO-foot-long breakwater that shelters the harbor is 


the home of the ST. FRANCIS YACHT CLUB (private), a two- 
story cement-faced structure roofed with red and orange tile, all but 
obscured from the mainland by green pines. Spanish in both exterior 
and interior with beamed ceilings looking down on rooms furnished 
in heavy dark wood and warmed by great open fires the decorative 
motif is nevertheless marine. A large glass-enclosed lounge affords an 
unusually fine view of the Bay and its shores. Among the clubrooms 
open to its 300 members are a dining room, a bar, steam and locker 
rooms, and courts for badminton, handball, and squash. Active in for- 
mation of the organization (1928) was Hiram Johnson, Jr. Non-profit 
and given to the promotion of frequent social events, the club's primary 
interest is yachting. Its annual open racing season (for craft of all 
classes) attracts sportsmen from the entire Bay region. 

201. Beyond the club, at the eastern tip of the breakwater, stands 
a MINIATURE LIGHTHOUSE of stone and granite once publicized by 
Robert ("Believe-It-or-Not") Ripley as the only municipally owned 
lighthouse in the world chartered by a national government. The 
granite in the 3O-foot-high tower came from tombstones in an aban- 
doned Lone Mountain Cemetery. A small park area guarded by reclin- 
ing stone lions surrounds the little building. 

S. from Marina Blvd. on Baker St. 

202. Where indoor tennis courts are covered by the long roof of 
the PALACE OF FINE ARTS (open iveekdays 8:30-11:30; Sun. 
8-5; courts $i an hour; lighted}, foot of Lyon St., visitors to the 
Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 enjoyed the art treas- 
ures of the fair. The tan stuccoed facade of the semicircular building 
(outer circumference 1,100 feet; width, 135 feet) and its fronting 
peristyle of terra-cotta Corinthian columns follow the curve of a lagoon 
in which water fowl glide about two anchored gondolas. In the center 
of the colonnade, opposite the main entrance, is an ornamental domed 
rotunda supported by eight pairs of columns flanking as many arches. 
The palace's designer, Bernard Maybeck, is said to have been inspired 
by Brocklin's painting, The Island of the Dead. 

After the fair, in 1918, the palace again housed an art collection 
that of the San Francisco Art Commission; but after 1921, when the 
group moved its exhibit, the building was allowed to deteriorate. In 
1927 the Government deeded that ten-acre portion of the Presidio on 
which the palace stood to the City of San Francisco, but not until 12 
years later did San Francisco begin to expend the $500,000 necessary 
for its restoration. 

The restored palace mirrored in the placid waters of the lagoon is 
all that remains of the $50,000,000 exposition that reached from Fort 


Mason to the Presidio. President William Howard Taft broke the 
first earth on the site October 14, 1911, and four months later issued 
an invitation to all nations to participate in this great celebration of the 
opening of the Panama Canal. On the early morning of February 20, 
1915, more than 150,000 noisily enthusiastic persons marched through 
the city streets to the fairgrounds. Only celebrants who did not walk 
to the Scott Street gates were a group of pioneers whose carriage fol- 
lowed slowly behind the marching leaders of the two-and-one-half-mile- 
long parade: Mayor James Rolph, Jr., Governor Hiram W. Johnson, 
and fair official Marshall Hale (whose brother, Robert, first had sug- 
gested the celebration to Congress in a letter dated January 12, 1904). 

Said a contemporary writer of the exposition: "From the city's 
heights one looks down on a facade three-quarters of a mile long, domi- 
nated at its center by the lofty seven-storied . . . Tower of Jewels, 
432 feet in height, and broken on either side by an open court orna- 
mented with lesser towers. As the eye rests upon the rectangular group, 
eight great domes claim the attention, distinguishing the location of 
an equal number of exhibit palaces, domes of sea-green color, pale 
against the intense blue of the sky and the bright red of the tiled roofs. 
One notes that the avenue bisects the group at right angles, widening 
along the lateral axis into three courts . . . 

"And now the eye withdraws from this central group-building, 
attracted by the two domed structures in the South Gardens, Festival 
Hall and the Palace of Horticulture. To the east, rests the Palace 
of Machinery . . . To the west across the still lake, and curving to its 
shores . . . stands the Palace of Fine Arts. . . . Passing through the 
main entrance, underneath the Tower of Jewels, we enter the Court 
of the Universe. Elliptical in shape, 700 by 900 feet, it contains a 
sunken garden capable of seating seven thousand persons, is entirely 
surrounded by handsome colonnades . . . the facades of the four palaces 
being modified to form the walls of the court. The entrance from 
the lateral avenue on the east and west are surmounted by magnificent 
archways. . . . Passing westward along the avenue between the palaces 
of Agriculture and Liberal Arts, the visitor enters the Court of the 
Four Seasons. . . . The corresponding court on the east is the Court 
of Abundance. Two minor courts open to the south, that on the east, 
the Court of Flowers; on the west, the Court of Palms. 

"To the north . . . stretches the long Esplanade, threaded with 
walks and driveways . . . while over beyond the superb Palace of Fine 
Arts in bewildering array the dignified Foreign Pavilions and imposing 
buildings of the states arrest the attention . . ." 

Twenty-five foreign nations contributed to the "bewildering array," 
many duplicating famous structures of their lands such as Turkey's 
mosque of Sultan Ahmed I and Japan's sacred temple at Kioto, Kin Ka 


Ku Ji. The 43 states and territories represented showed equal imagi- 
nation: New York built a Fifth Avenue mansion; New Jersey, George 
Washington's Trenton Barracks; California, a Spanish mission. 

Dedicated to sheer fun was the "Zone," with its $10,000,000 worth 
of amusement concessions. And in the background the 3,600,000- 
candlepower scintillator on its special pier at Yacht Harbor swept the 
night skies with color, painting the fog that rolled in from the Bay 
with every hue of the rainbow. 

W . from Baker St. on Lombard St., which leads into Lincoln Blvd. 

MILITARY RESERVATION (usually open 24 hours; subject to 
close without notice; speed limit 20 m.p.h.; night parking prohibited} , 
entered at Lincoln Blvd. and Lombard St., is a wooded tract of 1,540 
acres extending from Lyon St. west to the ocean and from West Pacific 
Ave. and Lobos Creek north to the rim of the Golden Gate. Largest 
military post within a city's limits in the United States, the reservation 
includes general headquarters of the Ninth Corps Area, fortifications 
hidden by sand dunes and heavily forested hillsides, barracks for enlisted 
men, officers' quarters, a guard house, recreation centers, a hospital, a 
cemetery, sleek parade grounds, aviation field and hangars, warehouses, 
and supply depots. A fortified area since 1776 when it was chosen by 
Juan Bautista de Anza as military headquarters of the soldiers of 
Charles III of Spain the Presidio has been occupied by Spanish gar- 
risons, was host to Fremont's buckskin-clad followers, welcomed volun- 
teers during the Spanish-American War, and trained doughboys for 
service in the first World War. In 1906 the Presidio became a tent city 
of refugees of the fire. In 1917-18 it played host in an even grimmer 
way, housing a concentration camp for enemy aliens. 

Associated with the Presidio are some of the most illustrious names 
of the United States Army. Stationed here were Generals William 
Tecumseh Sherman, P. H. Sheridan, E. V. Sumner, Winfield Scott, 
Irvin McDowell, and A. S. Johnson. Brigadier-General Fred Funston 
commanded the post during the reconstruction of the city in 1906 and 
General John J. Pershing was in command for a short time before lead- 
ing the Punitive Expedition into Mexico. 

203. Largest military hospital in the West and one of five Army 
general hospitals in the country is i,ooo-bed LETTERMAN GEN- 
ERAL HOSPITAL. Its 48 acres on which are 56 permanent struc- 
tures are in the eastern end of the Presidio, that part of the reservation 
most protected from fog and wind. Wide lawns and a profusion of 
palm trees and shrubs surround the yellow and white buildings. Starred 
entirely by Army medical officers, it is the hospital for reception and 


definitive treatment of the Army's seriously ill stationed on the Pacific 
Coast and in near-by States, and for the sick returned from the Canal 
Zone, Alaska, and transpacific stations. In the Red Cross "hut" on 
the hospital grounds vaudeville and motion pictures are provided. Fur- 
ther recreational facilities are tennis courts and a library of 10,000 
books and periodicals. 

The institution was less pretentious when built in 1898 and named 
in honor of Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the 
Potomac. One of the finest medical officers of the Civil War, Letter- 
man designed the pavilion type hospital used (with slight modification) 
by many countries. 

204. Still in use is the old STATION HOSPITAL (near the 
Administration Building) constructed in 1854 ^ materials shipped 
around the Horn. 

205. West of the hospital grounds, bordered on the north by Lin- 
coln Blvd., is the MAIN PARADE GROUND, flanked by great 
red-brick barracks and their background of eucalyptus trees. At the 
northern end of the parade ground a sentry walks his post before the 
red-brick Guardhouse. 

206. Nearby stands the OFFICERS' CLUB (private), only sur- 
vival of the adobe buildings erected by the Spanish. In 1776 it was 
the headquarters of Lieutenant Jose Joaquin Moraga of the De Anza 
expedition (see A Frontier To Conquer: The White Men Came) , who 
completed the garrison and dedicated the Presidio on September 17 of 
that year. A plaque on the building reads in part: 

". . . Officers Quarters 


Spanish, Mexican, and American Rule 

Oldest Adobe Building in 

San Francisco." 

Bronze cannons cast 250 years ago in Madrid, veterans of Pizarro's 
conquest of Peru, flank the club's entrance. A third, pointing at a 
marker honoring Lieutenant Moraga, bears on its breech the royal arms 
of Spain and the date 1679. 

Ter. and Lincoln Blvd., 25 acres of landscaped hillside overlooking the 
Golden Gate, is surrounded by groves of laurel, cypress, and eucalyptus 
trees. Among the remains of more than 16,000 men buried here are 
those of officers and enlisted men from abandoned cemeteries at Fort 
Klamath, Oregon; Fort Colville, Washington; the Modoc Lava Beds 
(scene of California's Modoc Indian Wars of 1872-73) ; and Old Camp 
Grant in Arizona. Headstones bear the well-known names of Me- 


Ku Ji. The 43 states and territories represented showed equal imagi- 
nation : New York built a Fifth Avenue mansion ; New Jersey, George 
Washington's Trenton Barracks; California, a Spanish mission. 

Dedicated to sheer fun was the "Zone," with its $10,000,000 worth 
of amusement concessions. And in the background the 3,600,000- 
candlepower scintillator on its special pier at Yacht Harbor swept the 
night skies with color, painting the fog that rolled in from the Bay 
with every hue of the rainbow. 

W '. from Baker St. on Lombard St., which leads into Lincoln Blvd. 

MILITARY RESERVATION (usually open 24 hours; subject to 
close without notice; speed limit 20 m.p.h.; night parking prohibited), 
entered at Lincoln Blvd. and Lombard St., is a wooded tract of 1,540 
acres extending from Lyon St. west to the ocean and from West Pacific 
Ave. and Lobos Creek north to the rim of the Golden Gate. Largest 
military post within a city's limits in the United States, the reservation 
includes general headquarters of the Ninth Corps Area, fortifications 
hidden by sand dunes and heavily forested hillsides, barracks for enlisted 
men, officers' quarters, a guard house, recreation centers, a hospital, a 
cemetery, sleek parade grounds, aviation field and hangars, warehouses, 
and supply depots. A fortified area since 1776 when it was chosen by 
Juan Bautista de Anza as military headquarters of the soldiers of 
Charles III of Spain the Presidio has been occupied by Spanish gar- 
risons, was host to Fremont's buckskin-clad followers, welcomed volun- 
teers during the Spanish-American War, and trained doughboys for 
service in the first World War. In 1906 the Presidio became a tent city 
of refugees of the fire. In 1917-18 it played host in an even grimmer 
way, housing a concentration camp for enemy aliens. 

Associated with the Presidio are some of the most illustrious names 
of the United States Army. Stationed here were Generals William 
Tecumseh Sherman, P. H. Sheridan, E. V. Sumner, Winfield Scott, 
Irvin McDowell, and A. S. Johnson. Brigadier-General Fred Funston 
commanded the post during the reconstruction of the city in 1906 and 
General John J. Pershing was in command for a short time before lead- 
ing the Punitive Expedition into Mexico. 

203. Largest military hospital in the West and one of five Army 
general hospitals in the country is i,ooo-bed LETTERMAN GEN- 
ERAL HOSPITAL. Its 48 acres on which are 56 permanent struc- 
tures are in the eastern end of the Presidio, that part of the reservation 
most protected from fog and wind. Wide lawns and a profusion of 
palm trees and shrubs surround the yellow and white buildings. Staffed 
entirely by Army medical officers, it is the hospital for reception and 


definitive treatment of the Army's seriously ill stationed on the Pacific 
Coast and in near-by States, and for the sick returned from the Canal 
Zone, Alaska, and transpacific stations. In the Red Cross "hut" on 
the hospital grounds vaudeville and motion pictures are provided. Fur- 
ther recreational facilities are tennis courts and a library of 10,000 
books and periodicals. 

The institution was less pretentious when built in 1898 and named 
in honor of Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the 
Potomac. One of the finest medical officers of the Civil War, Letter- 
man designed the pavilion type hospital used (with slight modification) 
by many countries. 

204. Still in use is the old STATION HOSPITAL (near the 
Administration Building) constructed in 1854 ^ materials shipped 
around the Horn. 

205. West of the hospital grounds, bordered on the north by Lin- 
coln Blvd., is the MAIN PARADE GROUND, flanked by great 
red-brick barracks and their background of eucalyptus trees. At the 
northern end of the parade ground a sentry walks his post before the 
red-brick Guardhouse. 

206. Nearby stands the OFFICERS' CLUB (private), only sur- 
vival of the adobe buildings erected by the Spanish. In 1776 it was 
the headquarters of Lieutenant Jose Joaquin Moraga of the De Anza 
expedition (see A Frontier To Conquer: The White Men Came), who 
completed the garrison and dedicated the Presidio on September 17 of 
that year. A plaque on the building reads in part: 

". . . Officers Quarters 


Spanish, Mexican, and American Rule 

Oldest Adobe Building in 

San Francisco." 

Bronze cannons cast 250 years ago in Madrid, veterans of Pizarro's 
conquest of Peru, flank the club's entrance. A third, pointing at a 
marker honoring Lieutenant Moraga, bears on its breech the royal arms 
of Spain and the date 1679. 

Ter. and Lincoln Blvd., 25 acres of landscaped hillside overlooking the 
Golden Gate, is surrounded by groves of laurel, cypress, and eucalyptus 
trees. Among the remains of more than 16,000 men buried here are 
those of officers and enlisted men from abandoned cemeteries at Fort 
Klamath, Oregon; Fort Colville, Washington; the Modoc Lava Beds 
(scene of California's Modoc Indian Wars of 1872-73) ; and Old Camp 
Grant in Arizona. Headstones bear the well-known names of Me- 


Dowell, Shatter, Funston and Ligget. "Two Bits October 5 1873" 
is the inscription on a marble stone over the grave of an Indian inter- 
preter from Fort Klamath. A huge heart-shaped plot with a granite 
monument, dedicated to the "Unknown Soldier Dead," marks the burial 
place of 408 soldiers of the World War. "Pauline C. Tyler Union 
Spy" is engraved on the headstone of the grave of Pauline Cushman 
Tyler, young actress who was in the Union services during the Civil 
War and later received the honorary commission of brevet-major. 

208. CRISSY FIELD, stretching along the Golden Gate between 
Marine Blvd. and Mason St., is the scene of the weekly (Tues. 2:30 
p.m.) "Retreat Formation" by troops of "San Francisco's own," the 
3Oth Infantry, and the annual encampment of the Citizens' Military 
Training Camp. On Army Day, the maneuvers, parades, artillery 
demonstrations, and anti-aircraft bombardments held here are open to 
the public, as are the divisional reviews of all troops of the post. The 
eastern end of the field is occupied by polo grounds and the numbered 
supply depots and warehouses of the Quartermaster Corps. Named in 
honor of Major Dana H. Crissy, Air Service pilot who was killed in 
the Transcontinental Air Races of 1919, the field was used as an army 
aviation base from 1919 until supplanted in 1936 by Hamilton Field 
(see North Bay Tour*). 

N. from Lincoln Blvd. on Long Ave. to Marine Dr.; W . on Marine 

209. FORT WINFIELD SCOTT, near the northern limits of 
the Presidio, is headquarters of both the Ninth Coast Artillery District 
and the harbor defense distributed among Forts Barry and Baker (see 
North Bay Tour), Forts Miley and Funston. Within its area are 
the heavy gun units of the Coast Defense. In 1921 the fort was officially 
designated as a saluting station to return the salutes of foreign vessels 
of war visiting the Port of San Francisco. Officers and enlisted men 
occupy new grey stucco buildings, among them the Signal Corps Radio 

210. Fort Point, the promontory (parking space) beyond Fort Win- 
field Scott, is the northernmost point of the San Francisco Peninsula. 
On the shoreline below is OLD FORT SCOTT (private) called 
until 1882 Fort Point marking the Site of Castillo de San Joaquin, 
beside the southern anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge. December, 
1794 saw completion of the early castillo by the Spanish. It is recorded 
that the adobe walls trembled on their foundations of sand at the mere 
firing of a salute, that the guns "were badly mounted, and, for the 
most part, worn out." By July i, 1846 the guns were dismounted and 
useless, although Fremont in his Memoirs relates that on that date he 
and 12 of his men spiked the "large, handsome pieces." 


Designed after Fort Sumter, the present old brick fortress, with 
walls 36 feet thick, encloses a paved courtyard at the waters' edge. 
Today as obsolete as the square-riggers which were its enemies, its only 
modern facilities are a powerhouse and searchlight. 

Retrace on Marine Dr. to Lincoln Blvd.; W . (then S.) on Lincold 
to Washington Blvd.; S. on Washington to Park Blvd.; S. on Pafk\ 

211. Occupying 162 acres in the southern and central part of the 
reservation are the PRESIDIO GOLF LINKS (greens fee $2; $i to 
officers and their guests Mon.-Fri.; $2 Sat. and Sun.), Washington and 
Park Blvds. 

212. Adjoining the golf links on the west are the grounds of the 
six-story, white granite MARINE HOSPITAL, foot of Fourteenth 
Ave., with its surrounding staff quarters (the medical and nursing 
staff of 82 live on the premises), laboratories, laundries, and green- 
houses. Number 9 of 25 similar institutions operated by the Federal 
Public Health Service, its 500 beds are open to merchant sailors and 
all Federal employees except those in the Army and Navy. 

This hospital was built in 1932. The city's first Marine Hospital, 
a four-story brick building, had been erected 79 years earlier on Rincon 
Point. The first such institution in the country, said to be the oldest 
Government service, was founded at Norfolk, Virginia, in 1798, to 
combat cholera and yellow fever, and occupational diseases caused by 
unsanitary living conditions aboard early American merchant vessels. 
A merchant sailor's ticket of admission to these hospitals is a certificate 
from his ship's master and surgeon presented within six months of his 

213. Just east of the hospital and within the Presidio is little 
MOUNTAIN LAKE, Government-protected sanctuary for ducks and 
gulls. In 1939 the lake was reduced to half its former size when earth 
excavated in lowering the grade of the Funston Avenue approach to the 
Golden Gate Bridge was dumped into it. MOUNTAIN LAKE PARK 
(play apparatus) , Lake St. between Eighth and Funston Aves., stretches 
along the lake's southern shore outside the Presidio. 

Retrace on Park Blvd. to Lincoln Blvd.; S. on Lincoln, which leads 
into El Camino del Mar 

214. Property of the War Department, but open to picnickers, 
bass fishermen, and sunbathers is BAKER'S BEACH, foot of Twenty- 
fifth Ave., a long sandy strip along the western edge of the Presidio 
(accessible by trails from the southwestern corner of the Presidio and 
from the foot of Twenty-fifth Ave.). The beach was named for 


Colonel Edward Dickinson Baker (for whom Fort Baker in Marin 
County; Baker, Oregon; and San Francisco's Baker Street also were 
named). An eloquent orator and lawyer, Baker came here in the 
1 850*8 and canvassed the State in the cause of the Union. After mak- 
ing himself unpopular by defending Charles Cora during the Vigilante 
trial of 1856, he moved to Oregon, where he became a United States 
Senator, but returned to command the first regiment of California 
volunteers in the Civil War. He was killed in battle in 1861. Near 
Sea Cliff, the impassible promontory at the southern end of the beach, 
is an old red-brick pumping station which long ago pumped water from 
Lobos Creek (southern boundary of the Presidio) through a tunnel 
at Fort Point to downtown San Francisco, but which now supplies 
only the reservation. 

N. from El Camino del Mar on Twenty-seventh Ave. to Sea Cliff Ave.; 
W '. on Sea Cliff, which leads into a footpath; N. on the footpath 

215. Toward purchase of the short, irregular crescent of JAMES 
pits; comfort stations}, the man for whom the park is named left a 
bequest of $50,000. A five-year wrangle over the property by the city, 
the State, the Allen Company (Sea Cliff development group), and the 
newspapers culminated in its purchase in 1933 by State and city for 
$160,000. It still popularly is called China Beach, a name applied 
since Chinese fishermen camped on the protected inlet their nightly 
bonfires giving rise to the legend that the cove was a rendezvous of 
pirates. Announced by the Recreation Commission as the only spot 
on the city's ocean frontage between Fort Point and Fleishhacker Pool 
safe for bathing, plans call for "terraced gardens for the sloping hill- 
sides; leafy walks; an alluring tea house; tennis courts; and an arti- 
ficial pool . . ." 

Retrace on footpath to El Camino del Mar; W . on El Camino del Mar 

In the extreme northwestern corner of city and peninsula are the 
270 green-lawned acres of city-owned LINCOLN PARK, facing sea- 
ward on the north and west, bounded on the east by Thirty-third Ave. 
and on the south by Clement St. and Fort Miley Reserve. The ter- 
rain slopes gently to the south and east and drops abruptly to the sheer 
cliffs above the Golden Gate. El Camino del Mar winds the length 
of the park, at one point skirting high above the rugged rock-strewn 
shore. Across the Bay, beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, lie the soft 
Marin Hills ^nd Point Bonita (see North Bay Tour] ; closer are 
Land's End and Phelan and Baker's Beaches. 


Beneath Lincoln Park's smooth lawns lie the graves of thousands 
of San Franciscans who died during the latter half of the nineteenth 
century. Among the cemeteries here were the burial grounds of Chinese 
and Italians, and here was Potter's Field. The city has kept its 
promise made when it purchased the property in 1910, and has not 
disturbed the graves. 

216. On the formally landscaped summit in the northern section 
of the park stands the city's largest art museum, the CALIFORNIA 
PALACE OF THE LEGION OF HONOR (open daily 10-5; park- 
ing area; organ concerts Sat. and Sun. 3-4), a memorial to California's 
dead in the first World War, the gift (i9 2 4) of Adolph B. and Alma 
de Bretteville Spreckels. The cream-colored palace, closely resembling 
the eighteenth-century classic Palais de la Legion d'Honneur (Paris, 
France), is approached through a Roman arch flanked by two porticoes 
with double rows of Ionic columns. The porticoes abut the two wings 
of the palace to form a rectangular court. The wings are flanked by 
peristyles, each with 22 columns, and the main facade is fronted by a 
portico with six Corinthian columns. One of the five original bronze 
casts of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker occupies the center of the court. 
The entire building is set off by a stone balustrade. Bronze equestrian 
statues (Anna Hyatt Huntington, sculptress), El Cid, and Jeanne 
d'Arc, flank the path leading to the entrance. A marble plaque beside 
the doorway, the gift of France, reads: "Hommage de la France aux 
heros Calif orniens morts pour la defense du droit et la liberte" (France's 
homage to the California heroes dead in defense of right and liberty). 

Of the museum's 19 main-floor galleries, those to the left and rear 
of the central foyer contain the permanent collection, which includes 
a series of fine seventeenth-century Flemish tapestries, French tapestries 
of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries many from the Gobelin 
works, and a set of modern Gobelins presented by the French govern- 
ment. The paintings include a few of the early Italians, Vivarini, 
BeltrafHo, and Fra Bartolemmeo ; there are two fine Guardis, among 
them the Rialto Bridge; a Caneletto, arid other eighteenth century 
Venetians. The Dutch school is represented by Rubens, Cuyp, David 
Teniers, de Vos, and Ruisdael ; the Spanish, by Murillo, Velasquez and 
El Greco's St. Peter. The English eighteenth-century paintings num- 
ber portraits by Raeburn, Lawrence, Reynolds, Hoppner, and Romney. 
There are two Constables and Turner's Grand Canal at Venice. The 
French eighteenth-century school, including Fragonard, de Troy, and 
Boucher, is well represented; the work is hung in galleries containing 
some fine pieces of French furniture of the same period. Among the 
works of sculpture are bronzes and marbles by Rodin and others influ- 
enced by him, including Arthur Putnam, and a bronze bust by Jacob 


The galleries to the right of the main foyer are used for loan ex- 
hibits. The lower floor houses a little theater and the Albert Bender 
collection of oriental painting, sculpture, and ceramics. 

In the center of the driveway before the museum a I2ofoot wooden 
flagpole marks the western terminus of the Lincoln Highway (US 40). 
A few yards east is The Shades, three nude male bronzes by Rodin, 
standing with heads bowed and arms outstretched. The group is a 
memorial to Raphael Weill, pioneer merchant and philanthropist. The 
semicircular stone balustrade at the edge of the parkway overlooks a 
curious obelisk of bronze, rising 24 feet from a y-foot-square granite 
base bearing the information that it was "presented to the Ladies Sea- 
men's Friend Society by Dr. Henry Cogswell. A landmark of the 
seamen's last earthly port and resting-place in which he waits the advent 
of the Great Pilot of his eternal destiny. . . ." 

S. from the Palace of the Legion of Honor on an unnamed drive 

21 7. Facing the driveway near one of the main entrances (Thirty- 
fourth Ave. and Clement St.), in the southeastern section of the park, is 
headquarters of the i8-hole LINCOLN PARK MUNICIPAL GOLF 
COURSE. LINCOLN PARK CLUBHOUSE (greens fee 50$ Mon.-Fri.; 
J5$ Sat. and Sun.; $2 monthly; clubs 50$ a set; locker $l a month; 
restaurant), a large one-story white frame building resembles a com- 
fortable country home. Near by is the CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND (play 
apparatus; handball courts). 

Retrace on unnamed drive to El Camino del Mar; NW. from El 
Camino del Mar on a footpath 

2 1 8. A WPA-built trail, below El Camino del Mar just northeast 
of the Palace of the Legion of Honor, skirts the cliffside to LAND'S 
END, the wave-dashed headland forming the northwest rim of the city. 

219. From the rocky shoal waters the hoarse siren of MILE ROCK 
LIGHTHOUSE, a few hundred feet offshore on the larger of the two Mile 
Rocks, echoes along the cliffs when fogs shroud the Bay; its light, atop 
a white cylindrical tower 78 feet above the water, is visible for 14 
miles. Before the construction of the light (1903-06) the S. S. Rio 
de Janeiro foundered on Fort Point Reef (see The Harbor and Its 
Islands) in 1901 and sank with a loss of more than 100 lives and a 
reputed fortune in bullion and silk. Visitors intrepid enough to under- 
take the extremely rough passage and climb a rope ladder or be hoisted, 
like the stations' supplies, by a rope swung from a boom make arrange- 
ments for the t-rip with the Coast Guard at the Customhouse. 

220. The path around Land's End follows the shore beneath the 


COMMERCE, a buff-colored, three-story, towerlike, stuccoed structure 
equipped with a telepscope with a 3O-mile range. The purpose of the 
station is to report vessels entering the harbor to their owners, the 
Immigration Department, the Customhouse, the press, supply houses, 
taxi companies and hotels. Craft are identified after they pass the light- 
ship near the Farallones. The waves below the station wash over the 
boilers and hull of the lumber schooner Coos Bay. Farther west the 
skeletons of the Frank H. Buck and the Standard Oil tanker Lyman 
Stewart lie in the surf. 

221. Near the wreckage of the Lyman K. Stewart, a few stark, 
jutting beams compose the remaining FRAMEWORK OF PEL- 
TON'S TIDE MACHINE formerly referred to as "Pelton's Folly" 
a structure built on an isolated rock facing the sea. Here Alexander 
Pelton planned to harness the tides and thus develop electric power. 
An experimental plant costing $250,000 was three times swept out to 
sea. When his backer (said to be Adolph Sutro) would advance no 
further funds and his own were exhausted, Pelton abandoned the 

Retrace on footpath to El Camino del Mar; W. on El Camino del 
Mar to Seal Rock Ave.; E. on Seal Rock 

TION FACILITY (open Mon.-Fri. 8-4, Sat. 8-12), Seal Rock and 
Forty-fifth Aves., is housed in a group of ultra-modern hospital build- 
ings constructed of terra cotta and reinforced concrete, combining 
pyramidal motifs of Mayan Temple architecture with modern design. 
Built in 1933 as a diagnostic center, the facility serves all veterans' 
hospitals west of the Mississippi River. (By special arrangement, a 
limited number of Canadian veterans are admitted for treatment.) 
One of 8 1 such institutions in the United States, it is more than a 
hospital, serving as a clearing house for veterans seeking compensation 
adjustments, physical examinations, and similar services. A consulting 
staff of 39 of the Pacific Coast's best-known physicians and surgeons 
augments the staff of 27 doctors and three dentists. There are 41 
nurses, 90 ward attendants, and 35 kitchen workers (all lesser em- 
ployees are Civil Service). Among the subsidiary buildings in addition 
to laboratories and clinics are quarters for nurses and married attend- 
ants, two duplex buildings for physicians, surgeons' homes, and a library, 
recreation hall, and canteen. 

With a capacity of 336 beds, the facility serves more than 2,000 
patients annually and examines about 4,000 more for pension and dis- 
ability purposes. The principal work is done in the clinical and patho- 


logical laboratories, the X-ray diagnosis laboratory, and the physio- 
therapeutic division. 

223. The facility is in the extreme southern section of FORT 
vate), whose 50 acres were set aside in 1900 and named in honor of 
Lieutenant Colonel John D. Miley, who had died at Manila the pre- 
ceding year. A fortified reserve, it is surrounded by a strong wire 
fence and patrolled day and night by sentries. In 1911 Fort Miley 
was made a subpost of the Presidio. 

Retrace on Seal Rock Ave. to El Camino del Mar; S. on El Camino 
del Mar to Point Lobos Ave. 

224. SUTRO HEIGHTS (open daily 9-5; no vehicles permitted), 
Pt. Lobos and Forty-eighth Aves., once the home of Adolph Sutro, is 
now a public park. One of many enterprises of the Comstock million- 
aire who invested a fortune in the preservation of the city's natural 
beauty, the Heights are his most intimate memorial. 

Sutro Heights commands a view of three miles of ocean beach below. 
Among the tall groves of trees in the park are scattered statuettes repre- 
senting characters of folklore and fiction, among them a group from the 
stories of Charles Dickens. A white-painted wooden arch and gateway 
flanked by reclining stone lions marks the park's entrance. Directly 
within are an octagonal-shaped station house formerly used by a gate- 
keeper, and twin life-sized iron figures of guards in seventeenth-century 
cuirasses and helmets. A graveled central pathway, formerly a driveway, 
leads southward into the center of the garden under trees of a myriad 
variety, among them palms, firs, monkey trees, Monterey cypresses, 
and several from the islands of the South Pacific; a Norfolk Island 
pine, a Hawaiian cazana, and an aurecara of New Zealand. A smaller 
path, branching from the main pathway, leads to the top of the heights 
on the garden's western edge, a steeply descending cliff with terraced 
rock gardens planted in evergreens and perennials. A low granite wall 
on the edge of the terrace serves as a base for statues and urns placed 
alternately. Here also are two large muzzle-loading cannon, near 
each of which, as if in readiness, stand piles of huge iron shot. These 
ornaments originally decorated one of the city's earliest pleasure resorts, 
Woodward's Gardens. 

A few paces back from the cliff's edge stood Adolph Sutro's home, 
built in the late iSyo's and condemned and demolished in 1939. Only 
evidence today that a mansion once was here is a small stone strong- 
room, fitted with a heavy iron door and furnished with a safe bearing 
the imprint, "Adolph Sutro." 

A native of Germany but a resident of California since 1850, Sutro 


had achieved wealth and prominence as a mining engineer. Visiting 
the property for the first time in the early i88o's, accompanied by his 
small daughter Emma, he was attracted by its possibilities, and forth- 
with purchased it from Samuel Tetlow, onetime proprietor of the Bella 
Union. He at once erected a new home on the site, acquired a stable 
of thoroughbred horses, imported statuary from Europe, and collected 
rare plants from many parts of the world. In the following years he 
spent more than $1,000,000 improving the estate, which at one time 
employed fifteen caretakers and three gardeners, in addition to a corps 
of house servants. 

The Heights quickly became a fashionable gathering place, and its 
owner's hospitality a thing of renown. On one occasion a performance 
was given of Shakespeare's As You Like It, the cast of which includejd 
Ada Rehan and John Drew, both of Augustin Daly's company. It 
proved eminently successful, although the footlights were only Japanese 
lanterns; the stage, one of the lawns in front of the mansion. 

An uncommon foresight moved Sutro to acquire properties adjoin- 
ing the Heights, and his estate eventually embraced much of the city 
which now skirts the sea-front. With Edward B. Pond, then mayor 
of San Francisco, he planned the magnificent system of boulevards 
from Thirty-third Avenue westward to the ocean, an area which 
included the sites of what is the present Lincoln Park and the Veterans' 
Facility, the Cliff House, and Sutro Heights. Sutro's public-spirited- 
ness was perpetuated by his descendants. "Open house" was always 
maintained at Sutro Heights; a sign placed near the entrance gate for 
many years invited the public "to walk, ride, and drive therein." Sutro 
Heights in 1898 came into the possession of Sutro's daughter, Dr. 
Emma Sutro Merritt, who left it as a public park to the city on her 
death in 1938. 

W '. from El Camino del Mar on Point Lobos Ave.; N. from PoinA 
Lobos on Merrie Way to a footpath; W . on footpath 

225. Easternmost tip of San Francisco is POINT LOBOS, called 
Punta de los Lobos Marines (Point of the Sea Wolves) by the Spanish 
because of its proximity to the sea lions on Seal Rocks. Lieutenant 
Juan Manuel de Ayala, who had sailed past the point and through the 
Golden Gate in the San Carlos on the evening of August 5, 1775, had 
charted the promontory as Angel de la Guarde (Guardian Angel). 
Somewhere on the heights above, on December 4, 1774, Captain Fer- 
nando de Rivera y Moncado and Father Francisco Palou, with four 
soldiers from their exploring party climbed a summit from which they 
saw "a great bay ... its waters were as quiet as those of a great lake." 
On a rocky headland, "which up to this time had never received the 


footprint of Spaniard or Christian," they set up a cross, supporting it 
by two rocks. 

Seventy-nine years later enterprising Yankees were erecting a cross 
of a different nature on Point Lobos: that carrying the Pacific Coast's 
first telegraph wires to the Merchants' Exchange by way of Telegraph 
Hill. A lookout signalled news of the arrival of vessels to the several- 
mile-distant city. 

Retrace to Point Lobos Ave.; W . on Point Lobos, which becomes Great 

226. The sprawling buildings of the SUTRO BATHS AND ICE 
RINK (open Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-n p.m.; Sat., Sun., holidays g a.m.- 
II p.m.; skating 35$ Sun. afternoons and every evening, 25$ other 
times; skate rental i$$; swimming 50^), Point Lobos Ave. near Great 
Highway, covering three acres of sloping beach in the lee of Point Lobos, 
were built in 1896 by Adolph Sutro. Long advertised as the world's 
largest are the six indoor pools ; of both fresh and salt water, these vary 
in size, depth, and temperature. Also here are a floodlighted ice rink 
and an outdoor sand plot for sunbathing. It is said that 25,000 per- 
sons have visited "Sutro's" in one day. Wide-tiered galleries and 
promenades bordered with palms, tropical plants, natural history speci- 
mens, and gay-colored tables and chairs accommodate 7,000 spectators. 
One of the resort's numerous decorative palms attained such proportions 
that it became necessary to cut a hole in the floor above, through which 
the tree extends to the ceiling of the second story. 

Seen from the windows of the resort is a part of the battered hull 
of the American-Hawaiian freighter Ohioan, which reported the 
Chronicle on October 8, 1936 lost its bearing "in a peasoup fog off 
the Golden Gate . . . [and] with 42 officers and crew ran aground 
between Point Lobos and Seal Rocks, below Sutro Baths, just before 
midnight last night. . . ." The Ohioan s i,5OO-ton cargo of general 
merchandise was valued at $450,000; the ship itself, at $350,000. Most 
of the cargo was saved, much of it undamaged, but the vessel was 
lodged so firmly on the rocks that it could not be refloated. Much 
of the steel in the hull was salvaged. Hundreds of curious visitors 
flocked to view the wrecked steamer. Two years later they again 
crowded the same stretch of beach to stare at the body of a large whale 
washed up near the Ohioan during a severe storm. 

The carcass of a i2O-ton whale had been deposited near by several 
years earlier. The Chronicle facetiously advertised on May 16, 1919: 
"Wanted Somebody to remove . . . one huge, ancient and long-dead 
whale . . . before . . . Sunday." Towed to sea, the mammal had 
returned with the tide. Finally it was destroyed by fire. Said the 


Chronicle: "Mourners stand away off as last sad requiem sobbed by 

227. The CLIFF HOUSE, Point Lobos Ave. at Great Highway, 
a white stuccoed building terraced along the edge of the cliff south of 
Sutro Baths, is a modern restaurant, bar, and gift shop. Both the 
barroom and the Sequoia Room a cocktail lounge are finished in red- 
wood, from smooth walls to rustic beamed ceilings, and both house 
huge brick fireplaces in which open fires glow on chill days. From the 
lounge and the blue and white dining room in the rear of the building 
guests seated at the great plate glass windows on clear days look beyond 
Seal Rocks for miles across the Pacific. 

The present Cliff House is the third to occupy the site. (Contrary 
to popular opinion, the first Cliff House was not built by Samuel Bran- 
nan of lumber salvaged from a wrecked ship. A roadhouse called 
Oceanside House was built elsewhere by Bela Brooks of the salvaged 
materials.) The first was built in 1863; its first tenants were, accord- 
ing to the Morning Call of February 26, 1894, " a couple of French- 
men, whose names and memories are lost in obscurity." Traffic to the 
cafe in the i86o's was by way of the Point Lobos Toll Road, built by 
James Phelan, William Herrick, John Buckley, and Salem Burdell. 
A horse-drawn omnibus made the trip from Portsmouth Square to the 
beach; the fare was 50^. The road followed Point Lobos Avenue 
(most of which has been renamed Geary Boulevard). Second tenant 
was retired seaman Captain J. R. Foster, who leased and managed 
the Cliff House for nearly two decades. Foster's resort was at first 
highly successful, for "it was for many years the only recreation point 
the inhabitants of our then sparsely settled city had when they wished 
to take the fresh air. Previous to the building of this palace a Vide 
to the Mission' was the only luxury of the kind indulged in and this 
was performed on horseback over the sandhills. . . ." When the Cliff 
House became less fashionable and less attended, Foster made it a 
rendezvous of politicians and (continued the Call) "of the hetairie of 
San Francisco. The plazas used to be thronged with these gaily dressed 
nymphs, the rooms resounded with their carousals, and Captain Foster 
. . . winked the other eye when he directed the attention of a surprised 
visitor to the beauty of the ocean view. . . ." 

When Adolph Sutro purchased the property about 1879 it was 
known as the Cliff House ranch. Said Sutro: "I believe there was a 
dilapidated little farm house down on the beach." On the same beach 
in earlier years had been Seal Rock House (also confused by some his- 
torians with the Cliff House) a a curious architectural conglomera- 
tion" formed by frequent additions to an original "nondescript build- 
ing" said to have been managed by Captain Foster. 

The Cliff House's first mishap occurred in January, 1887, when 


the schooner Parallel, with her cargo of 80,000 pounds of dynamite, 
was driven into the bluff below; abandoned by captain and crew, the 
vessel was pounded against the rocks until the dynamite exploded and 
seriously damaged the building's foundations. On Christmas, 1894, 
the Cliff House burned to the ground. Reported the Call: "The fire 
was a hidden one between ceiling and walls . . . started from a de- 
fective flue. . . . Toward midnight hacks began to arrive from the 
city with those curious to view the destruction of one of the most 
noted resorts in the world. . . . Jets of flame followed it until the 
bold brow of the cliff shone out ... It lit up the white forms of the 
plaster gods and goddesses on the parapet, and revealed the low house 
of the master and the ghastly figures under the trees [of Sutro's 
Heights]. . . . The hoarse bellowing of the frightened seals as they 
fled from the rocks to the depths was heard. . . . The corpulent king 
of the herd, Benjamin Harrison Cleveland, who succeeded Ben Butler, 
was first to seek refuge from the falling embers. . . ." 

Adolph Sutro erected the second Cliff House two years later a 
picturesque structure in the design of a chateau with spiralling towers. 
The dedication of what jokingly was called "Sutro's gingerbread palace" 
occasioned great celebration. With this auspicious start began another 
era of popularity for the resort. It was a favorite of James Flood, 
James Fair, John Mackay, and Claus Spreckels; played host to Presi- 
dents Hayes, Grant, McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taf t ; and was a rendez- 
vous of such theatrical and literary lights as Sarah Bernhardt, Adelina 
Patti, Mark Twain, and Bret Harte. In 1901, E. D. Beylard of Bur- 
lingame (wrote Oscar Lewis and Carrol Hall) "inaugurated a tally-ho 
service for the benefit of the Palace [Hotel] guests. Beylard borrowed 
his idea from the East, where . . . smart hotels were offering daily 
rides on the tops of coaches driven by young men of social importance. 
The Beylard tally-ho . . . each afternoon . . . proceeded, via Golden 
Gate Park, to the Cliff House; there the four horses were changed and 
the return trip was made by a different route. Twelve passengers were 
carried and the charge was two dollars per person." 

The Cliff House withstood the earthquake and fire of 1906, only to 
be destroyed by fire the following year. Immediately rebuilt by Sutro, 
its popularity continued until Prohibition. One attempt to operate it 
on a temperance basis was unsuccessful. In 1937 the abandoned Cliff 
House was purchased by concessionaires George K. and Leo C. Whitney, 
who modernized and reopened the famous old cafe. Their gift shop 
adjoining the building is said to be the largest curio shop in the world. 

228. Legal residents of the city and wards of the Park Commission 
since 1887, when their hauling ground was deeded by Congress to the 
City and County of San Francisco, are the sea lions on SEAL ROCKS, 
400 feet offshore below the Cliff House. Known as Steller sea lions, 

The City's Sights 



I E 







J t 








(ENGINE COMPANY NO. 15-2150 California Street) 




they are closely related to the fur seal; both are of the eared seal 
family. Unlike the more modest leopard (or harbor) seal, also found 
along the California coast, they are polygamous, gregarious, and noisy 
filling the air with their raucous roaring and barking. These Seal 
Rock lions breed during the latter half of June (the cow produces only 
one pup in a season) at their rookery on Ano Nuevo Island, about 25 
miles south. Once slaughtered almost to extinction both by fisher- 
men, who believed that the animals interfered with their nets and 
depleted the fish supply, and by hunters, for their oil and hides they 
are protected today by State and Federal laws. Hardly had they re- 
covered from their alarm at the burning of the Cliff House in 1894 
when the earthquake of 1906 provided a more serious disturbance 
one so great that they retreated to the Farallones and did not return 
for several years. 

Crowds have gathered on occasions to watch swimming races around 
the Seal Rocks. More thrilling were performances by tightrope walkers 
James Cooke and Rose Celeste, who balanced to the rocks and back on 
different occasions in the i86o's. A suspension bridge to the rocks con- 
structed later was abandoned after it overturned with about 20 pedes- 
trians, injuring several. 

229. The OCEAN BEACH, between the Cliff House and Sloat 
Blvd., is thronged on pleasant days with picnickers, surf and sun bathers, 
equestrians, and sightseers. The pedestrian esplanade bordering the sea- 
wall affords a broad view of the Pacific. A vicious undertow is created 
by the sudden drop beyond the edge of the surf and annually takes its 
toll of the unwary. 

230. At the northern end of the Ocean Beach is PLAYLAND AT 
THE BEACH, an amusement area consisting of 22 various "rides," a 
score of games of chance and "skill," shooting galleries, fun houses, 
many eating places (ranging from tiny hamburger stands to the well- 
known Topsy's Roost, a fried chicken and dance establishment), a penny 
arcade, and other concessions familiar to modern amusement zones. In 
1929 George and Leo Whitney, professional concessionaires, forced to 
return from operating Melbourne, Australia's Luna Park by the out- 
break of the World War, were successful in taking over this entire 
area from its several owners. Born in Kansas about 1 890, the Whitney 
brothers' careers began early with their perfection of a "quick-finishing" 
photographic process. Their first small photography shop was so suc- 
cessful that they began operating penny arcades; profits from these 
financed their concessions at the Alaska- Yukon Exposition of 1909, in 
Seattle, Washington. 

One and one-half million dollars raised by bond issue in 1927 
financed the two-year construction of the Great Highway, which extends 
along Ocean Beach from the Cliff House south to Sloat Boulevard, a 


distance of nearly three miles. Construction of the 4,2g8-foot-long 
Esplanade, extending from the highway's northern end to Lincoln Way, 
had begun as early as 1916, but was not completed until the new 
funds were acquired. Several methods of protecting the road along 
the ocean had failed until City Engineer Michael O'Shaughnessy de- 
signed the present tight cut-off wall of reinforced concrete interlocking 
sheet piling, which extends 13 feet below extreme low tide. Extending 
shoreward from the parapet wall, the Esplanade consists of flanking 
2O-foot sidewalks, 15 feet of lawn, and a paved highway between 150 
and 200 feet in width. For a stretch of 3,000 feet, opposite Golden 
Gate Park, the Great Highway is the widest boulevard in the United 
States. Paralleling the road between Lincoln Way and Sloat Boule- 
vard is a bridle path a link in the continuous pathway from the 
Presidio to Fleishhacker's by way of Golden Gate Park. 

Great Highway becomes Skyline Blvd. 

231. Set in a little valley encircled by wooded hills are the 128 
LOGICAL GARDENS, foot of Great Highway at Sloat and Skyline 
Blvds. This recreation center dates from 1922, when the city acquired 
from the Spring Valley Water Company 60 acres on which to construct 
a playground and pool. Only 37 acres at first were developed; opened 
in 1924, the park was named for Herbert Fleishhacker, then president 
of the Park Commission, who had donated the pool and the Mothers' 

Said to be the world's largest outdoor plunge is the SWIMMING 
POOL (open daily 9-5; suit, towel, and locker rental: adults 25$, chil- 
dren i$$; 20 life guards} ; 1,000 feet long, 150 feet wide, with a 
graduated depth of from 3 to 14 feet, several thousand persons can 
swim at one time in its 6,500,000 gallons of warmed salt water. Con- 
sidered a noteworthy achievement is the system of heating the sea 
water. Nearby under windblown cypresses are plots for sunbathing. 

The PLAYFIELD (open daily 9-5; free}, in addition to an un- 
usually large variety of play apparatus, boasts a merry-go-round, a 
miniature railway, and donkey rides (small fee}. Larger children and 
adults use the tennis courts, baseball diamond, and sporting greens. 
Facing the one-foot-deep wading pool for tots is the MOTHERS' HOUSE, 
a low, stuccoed, tile-roofed building providing a resting place for 
mothers and children; the gift of Fleishhacker, it is a memorial to his 
mother. Interior murals and mosaics are the work of WPA artists. 

Adjoining the playground is the Zoo (open daily 10-4:30; free}. 
Begun in 1929 with a few lion cubs and monkeys, gradually more ani- 
mals were acquired (by purchase and donation), until the animal, 


bird, and reptile population reached 1,000. Noted is the fine collection 
of "cats," which includes lions, tigers, leopards, lynxes, and panthers. 

In 1935 sixty-eight acres adjoining the zoo were purchased, and 
here WPA labor constructed the fine ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS (Lewis 
Hobart, architect), modeled after Germany's famous Hagenbeck Zoo. 
Here, among man-made streams, waterfalls, islands, cliffs, and caves, 
are simulated natural habitats of many animals separated (where prac- 
tical) from spectators only by moats and designed to give the animals 
the illusion of freedom. The concrete of the bear pits resembles natural 
rock. The aquatic bird building stands on the shores of a specially built 
lake; the "flight cage" is 220 feet long, with rocky refuges, nesting 
places, trees, shrubs, and a running stream. Also in the gardens are 
Monkey Island; the pachyderm house, with its separate enclosures and 
private swimming pools; lion dens; and a lake built for beavers and 
thoughtfully supplied with "chewy" logs. The gardens are (1940) 
only 80 per cent completed. 

Heated local controversy attended the trial of Wally, the elephant, 
who in 1936 attacked and killed his keeper. Only intensified by 
Wally's execution by court order, the discussion continued for several 

232. Adjoining Fleishhacker Playfield and Zoo on the south is 
FORT FUNSTON (private). Bordered on the east by Skyline Blvd., 
it stretches for about a mile and a half along the coast. Established as 
a military reservation during the Spanish- American War (1898), it 
was known as the Laguna Merced Military Reservation until 1917, 
when it was renamed in honor of Major-General Frederick Funston, 
commander of the Army troops who policed San Francisco after the 
1906 disaster. During the 1940 "war games" the reservation was the 
scene of spectacular practice firing in which machine gun tracer bullets 
"repulsed" a night landing of the "enemy." 

MERCED (Sp., Lake of Our Lady of Mercy), Lake Merced and 
Skyline Blvds., is about five acres of fresh water surrounded by sand 
dunes and golf courses; one of the latter divides the lake into north 
and south parts by a narrow neck of filled-in land. Wild flowers 
grow in profusion on the shores, and among nearby rolling sand hills 
vegetable gardens flourish. The city-owned lake was abandoned as a 
source of water supply in the I93o's. In 1939 it was leased to 
Thomas P. Cusick, whose improvements have made it popular with 
fishermen and devotees of skeet shooting. The lake's original depth 
was lowered 30 feet on the night of November 22, 1852, by a mysterious 
disturbance surmised to be a temblor; in Spanish colonial days the 
water flowed westward through a narrow channel to the ocean. 

234. Spreading between the north and south waters of Lake Merced 


is HARDING PARK GOLF COURSE (greens fee 7^ Mon.-Fri.; 
$1.50 Sat., Sun. f holidays; $3.00 monthly}, a 2OO-acre tract included in 
property purchased by the city from the Spring Valley Water Company. 
The i8-hole course is operated by the Park Commission, which began 
to improve the property in 1922 and opened it to the public in 1924. 

235. In the extreme southwest corner of the city, bisected by Sky- 
line Boulevard, is the OLYMPIC GOLF CLUB AT LAKESIDE 
(private), country club of the Olympic Club. Enclosed within its 
278 acres purchased in 1920 are two i8-hole golf courses and four 
tennis courts, although athletics here are subordinated to social functions. 

Retrace on Skyline Blvd. to Lake Merced Blvd.; SE. on Lake Merced 

236. The PACIFIC ROD AND GUN CLUB (private), near 
Lake Merced Blvd. on the southwest shore of Lake Merced, is housed 
in three wooden buildings made of six schoolhouses purchased from the 
city. Waters of the south lake abound in black bass, blue gills, and 
other fresh-water fish ; these are replenished from the north lake breed- 
ing ground, which is closed to fishing and boating. 

237. In a little hollow surrounded by rolling hills and vegetable 
Merced Blvd. at the San Francisco-San Mateo County Line. Two 
granite shafts mark the positions of the contestants in the encounter 
which welded California's political factions on the eve of the Civil War. 
About ten yards north a granite memorial bears the information that 
"United States Senator David C. Broderick and Judge David S. Terry 
fought a duel on this ground in the early morning of Tuesday, Septem- 
ber 13, 1859. Senator Broderick received a wound from which he 
died three days later. The affair marked the end of dueling in Cali- 
fornia. . . ." Terry, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, 
had accused Senator Broderick of defeating his candidacy for re-election. 
(Previously Broderick had befriended the fiery Southerner, who in 
1856 had been imprisoned for stabbing an officer of the Vigilance 
Committee.) On learning of Terry's arraignment of him before the 
1859 State Convention of the Democratic Party, the "grand, gloomy 
and peculiar" Broderick remarked: "I have said that I considered him 
the only honest man on the supreme bench, but now I take it all back." 
Informed of this statement, Judge Terry demanded a retraction; and 
when this was refused, "the satisfaction usual among gentlemen. . . ." 

Arriving at the appointed spot with their respective seconds in the 
raw foggy dawn, each contestant was provided with a Lafoucheux duel- 
ing pistol (these hair-trigger weapons had been chosen, according to 
custom, by the challenger) . With his back to the rising sun, nervously 
fingering his weapon, Broderick fired at the count of "one," his bullet 


striking the ground midway between him and his adversary. Terry, 
with deliberate aim, shot Broderick through the right breast. Followed 
by a crowd of some 60 spectators, a carriage bearing the fatally wounded 
Senator drove the ten miles to Black Point where he died in the home 
of Leonidas Haskell. 

238. A wooden plaque among rolling hills marks the northernmost 
Lake Merced Blvd. just north of the San Francisco-San Mateo County 
Line; here at eleven o'clock on the morning of December 4, 1774, head- 
quarters were established by the third Spanish party sent to explore San 
Francisco Bay. It consisted of 16 soldiers, Father Francisco Palou, and 
a muleteer (with mules laden with provisions for 40 days), under the. 
command of Captain Fernando Rivera y Moncada. An hour later 
Rivera, Palou, and four soldiers proceeded up the coast, where they 
planted a large wooden cross on Point Lobos. Returning to their hill- 
side camp which then overlooked a small stream running into Lake 
Merced the whole party followed Portola's old route back to Monte- 
rey without having chosen a site for the projected Mission San Fran- 
cisco de Asis the selection of which had been one of the chief purposes 
of the expedition. 

E. from Lake Merced Blvd. on an unnamed western extension of 
Stanley St. to Junipero Serra Blvd.; S. on Junipero Serra 

239- Organized in 1895, the SAN FRANCISCO GOLF CLUB, 
LTD. (private; greens fee $2), Junipero Serra Blvd. and Palmetto 
Ave., occupies an i8-hole course of 184 acres bordered on the south by 
the city and county limits. Located here is the INGLESIDE MEN'S CLUB 
(private; bar, restaurant). 

Retrace and continue N. on Junipero Serra Blvd. 

(greens fee 75$ Mon.-Fri.; $i Sat. until n, $1.25 11-4, 50$ after 4; 
$1.2$ Sun. until 1:30, $i 1:30-4), Nineteenth Ave. and Junipero Serra 
Blvd., has been operated privately since 1926 on 140 acres leased from 
the Spring Valley Water Company. The San Francisco Golf Club 
occupied this site until 1919. 

NW. from Junipero Serra Blvd. on Nineteenth Ave.; W . from Nine- 
teenth on Sloat Blvd. 

pits; picnic tables; sanitary facilities), Sloat Blvd. between Nineteenth 


and Twenty-fifth Aves., occupies a natural amphitheater 100 feet below 
street level. The grass-carpeted glade is sheltered by eucalyptus trees 
planted nearly 70 years ago by homesteader George Greene, a New 
England horticulturist who came around the Horn in 1847. When it 
became known in the early 1850*8 that Congress was to pass an act 
giving title of this property to those holding land there, Greene and 
several other homesteaders erected a fort, and for weeks guarded their 
property day and night against encroachers. In 1892 Greene estab- 
lished the Trocadero Inn ; boasting an open-air dance pavilion and trout 
lake, it was until 1916 a popular resort. The inn was used in 1907 
as a hideout by ousted political boss Abe Ruef, and it was here that 
he was captured. 

Mrs. Sigmund Stern purchased about 12 acres of the land and 
presented it to the city in 1931 as a memorial to her husband, with the 
provision that it be used only for recreational and cultural purposes. 
Enlarged later by the purchase of additional acreage by the Recreation 
Commission, and again in 1937 when another gift of Mrs. Stern made 
possible the acquisition of still more land, the park today covers more 
than 33 acres. The remodeled Trocadero Inn is a clubhouse available 
to organized groups for social and recreational usage (reservation must 
be made at the San Francisco Recreation Commission office, Room 3JO f 
City Hall}. 

Golden Gate Park 

"I'd go out into the country and walk along a stream until 1 
came to a bonnie brook. Then I'd come back to the park and 
I'd reproduce what Nature had done." 


FEW demonstrations of man's mastery over nature have been more 
convincing than the creation of Golden Gate Park: that long 
stretch of evergreen outdoors nine city blocks wide and four 
and a half miles long cutting a swath from the heart of the city to 
the ocean's shore. Its grassy meadows and limpid lakes, its forested 
hills that alternate in the apparent confusion of a natural wilderness, 
interlaced with winding roadways, bridle paths, and foot trails all 
are man's handiwork. When the city set out to create a park here 
in 1870, these 1,017 acres were a windswept desert. "Of all the 
elephants the city of San Francisco ever owned," said the Santa Rosa 
Democrat in 1873, "they now have the largest and heaviest in the shape 
of 'Golden Gate Park,' a dreary waste of shifting sand hills where a 
blade of grass cannot be raised without four posts to support it and 
keep it from blowing away." A scant 70 years later that "dreary 
waste" is a sylvan retreat in the midst of the city, where herds of sheep 
graze placidly along rolling pastures, darting squirrels, scurrying rab- 
bits, and chattering blackbirds fill the air with forest sounds, and 
haughty peacocks flaunt their plumage across velvet lawns. Thousands 
eat Sunday and holiday lunches on the shady slopes soft with leaf mold 
and sprawl in the sun on the wide lawns. The oldsters, conservatively 
dressed, listen to the afternoon band concerts, visit the museums, or 
gather around the checker boards at the eastern end of the park. The 
youngsters, clad in bright-colored sports clothes, play tennis, ride bicycles, 
crowd the children's playground, or tumble after footballs. 

Today as one walks among the innumerable flower beds and gardens, 
past lakes, brooks, and waterfalls, over rolling hills and pastoral 
meadows, he can hardly believe this magnificent evergreen playground 
entirely artificial. Buffalo, deer, and elk roam in paddocks landscaped 
to give an impression of fencelessness. So numerous are foxes and other 
small predatory animals that a hunter is. required the year round to 
prevent destruction of other animal life. The dozen lakes of the park 
afford feeding and resting places for thousands of waterfowl. 

Within the park's confines grow more than 5,000 kinds of plants. 
One may wander through groves of eucalyptus and conifers, through 



wild, brush-filled canyons or shaded glens luxuriant with ferns and 
blackberries, across hillsides riotous under a blanket of yellow chrysan- 
themums, violet wild radishes, brilliant orange poppies, snapdragons, 
and purple cestrum. One may find yellow daisies from South Africa 
or silverleafed ones from Teneriffe, fuchsias from Mexico and Peru, 
abelias from Mexico and the Himalayas, brooms from the Canaries and 
South Africa, cypress from Kashmir. Here grow the exotic crimson 
Waratah from New South Wales, blooming in the United States for 
the first time, and centuryplants, staggered in development so that at 
least one plant blooms every three years. The 109 varieties of eucalypti 
include the rare alpina from Australia, which rarely attains more than 
12 feet in height. The acacias, as varied as the eucalypti, include a 
rare pink variety. More than 100 species of conifers are represented, 
including the Monterey pine and Monterey cypress, the Torrey pine, 
and the New Zealand kauri-pine. The native live oak is also prominent, 
as is the Quercus ilex from Italy. The principal shrubs are of the 
genus Veronica from New Zealand and the genus Escalonia from 
Chile. Of rhododendrons, which grow in unnumbered thousands 
throughout Golden Gate Park, there are more than 300 varieties 
some from Thibet, India, Japan, Java, Portugal, Siberia, and Yunnan 
and from 300 to 400 hybrids, many of which have been developed 
locally; the display is unrivaled except in Kew Gardens, which boasts 
more varieties but fewer specimens. 

When public demand for a large recreation ground in San Fran- 
cisco began to arise in the early i86o's, claimants to the area of the 
present park were asked to give up some of their land in exchange for 
an absolute title to the land which they retained. During the ensuing 
long battle over land titles in the courts and the legislature, Mayor 
Frank McCoppin, twice led delegations to the State Capitol to demand 
that the area be saved for a park. Finally, in 1868, $801,593 were 
paid for the desired 1,017 acres. In 1870 Governor Henry H. Haight 
appointed the first San Francisco Park Commission. The following 
year, when he had completed a preliminary survey of the proposed 
Golden Gate Park, William Hammond Hall was appointed Park 
Superintendent and authorized to proceed with the development. 

To most people, the project of growing trees and grass on shifting 
sand was a foolish dream and for years it appeared they were not mis- 
taken. When in 1887 a new superintendent was appointed a sandy- 
haired young Scottish landscape gardener, John McLaren cultivation 
had been confined largely to the eastern end of the park. The Park 
Commission told McLaren: "We want you to make Golden Gate 
Park one of, the beauty spots of the world. Can you do it?" He 
answered: "With your aid, gentlemen, and God be willing, that I 
shall do." And he kept his word. 


With the treescape of the eastern part well established, the great 
task of improving the park proper remained. The two chief problems 
were to discover an economical and consistent source of fresh water and 
to fix in position the constantly moving sand dunes. The first was 
solved when subterranean streams were tapped south of Strawberry Hill. 
The second demanded infinite patience in experiment. 

When native lupine and barley were found to be unable to hold the 
sand, McLaren resorted to the Ammophila arenaria, "sand-loving sand 
grass," a beach grass common to the coast of Northern Europe. Send- 
ing out a mass of roots well below the surface, this grass continues to 
grow as fast as the wind covers it over, refusing to be buried, until 
the dune has reached such a height that the wind velocity will no longer 
carry sand to the top. Second plant to be utilized in fixing the con- 
tours of the sand was the Australian tea-tree, a soil-holding shrub closely 
related to eucalyptus; third was the Australian acacia, a leguminous 
shrub, a soil-builder as well as holder. The few blue gums planted 
by settlers in the early iSso's and a few native live oaks were aug- 
mented by systematic planting of additional blue gums (eucalypti), 
manzanita, madrone, and laurel. Principal grasses to follow were Ken- 
tucky bluegrass, Australian ryegrass, fescue, and Poa annua. 

The first years were hard for "Uncle John" McLaren. Time after 
time he awakened to find thousands of young trees covered with sand. 
Patiently he dug them out and nursed them back to life. Needing 
fertilizer, he asked for, and was given, the sweepings from the city 
streets. (When the automobile drove the horses from the streets, 
"Uncle John" was annoyed.) Allowed by tacit agreement with city 
officials to do his own hiring and firing, McLaren refused consistently 
to employ relatives or friends of the men in power. Neither would he 
tolerate interference in his plans. When he discovered the three young 
oaks planted in the parking area before the Park Police Station being 
dragged away with a steam roller, he replaced the trees. Later that 
day, when he found the oaks gone again and workmen paving the park- 
ing space, "Uncle John" had his own men shovel out the cement as 
fast as it was poured in. The Board of Public Works gave up its 
attempt to pave the area, and today three sturdy oaks hide the police 
station as McLaren had intended they should. 

An attempt to retire McLaren when he reached 60 occasioned a 
minor uprising by the people of San Francisco; "Uncle John" stayed 
on. When he was 70 the people again came to his defense. In 1922 
the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution that not only exempted 
him from enforced retirement but raised his wages. On December 20, 
1939 he celebrated his 93rd birthday still superintendent of the park 
and still active in its development. 

Despite its semi-miraculous development, Golden Gate Park was 


not easily to supplant Woodward's Gardens in the affection of the 
public. Woodward's in early years had been the established mecca for 
lovers of outdoor amusement. However, an elaborate children's play- 
ground (1886) and free municipal Sunday concerts in the "shell" built 
in the huge open-air tree-flanked Music Concourse added to the park's 
popularity. With the celebration of San Francisco's Midwinter Fair 
within its borders in 1894, Golden Gate Park came permanently into 
its own. Some of the special features of the Chicago World's Fair, 
including John Philip Sousa's band and Fritz Scheel's Vienna Orches- 
tra, gave repeat performances at the Midwinter Fair. Thousands 
visited the conservatory to see the world's largest flower, a pond lily 
that came to be known as the Victoria regina. The famous Japanese 
Tea Garden, built for the fair, was so popular that it never was torn 

Throughout the resplendent "gay nineties," the park became the 
rendezvous for the "horse-and-buggy" social set. Each Sunday they 
came dressed in the latest fashion. Some rode dog carts, some bicycles 
built for one, two, three, or four but most drove carriages. Trum- 
peting importantly for right of way, the tally-ho, with its complement 
of gaily caparisoned riders, cut across bicycles and dog-carts alike. 
Carriage occupants bowed politely to acquaintances, the men lifting their 
shining silk toppers. Less dignified were the bicyclists, one of whom 
inspired a columnist's rude comment, "ocean breezes reveal that she 
pads." Tandem bicycles were eclipsed by four-passenger "bikes," seat- 
ing two pairs of young men and women astride. A female "scorcher" 
arrested for speeding at the reckless rate of "ten miles an hour," also 
had committed the heinous crime of wearing the "new-fangled Bloom- 
ers." When the noisy horseless carriage first appeared, those seeking 
to heighten their social prestige by appearing in the park in these gasoline 
or electric "buggies" were chagrined when Golden Gate Park remained 
proscribed territory for vehicles mechanically self-propelled (the rule 
was enforced for several years). 

Still observed is McLaren's early refusal to allow "Keep Off the 
Grass" signs. As in the days after the earthquake and fire of 1906, 
when the park provided haven for countless refugees, whole families 
still seek relief on its green swards whenever the city is engulfed by 
one of its rare heat waves. Indicative of the importance of the park 
in the life of San Franciscans today are such signs in local streetcars 
as: "The Rhododendrons are blooming in Golden Gate Park" signs 
heeded by thousands. 

And meanwhile, as the never-ending stream of visitors continues, 
the park grows in beauty. What today is a dry canyon tomorrow may 
be a sparkling brook. For the past few years the WPA, under the 
guidance of "Uncle John," has been helping him shape the park as he 


wants it. Today he is most proud of his redwood forest, which he 
started growing from seeds when he was 80. People laughed. But 
today the trees are 30 feet high. In his half century as the park's 
creator, "Uncle John" has planted a million trees. Now he is planting 
his second million and watching them grow. 


Information Service: Information and maps at Park Lodge, near Stanyan and 
Fell Sts. 

Streetcars and Buses: Municipal Ry. cars B, C, K, L, and N connect with 
Municipal bus Route #i which crosses park; fare 5$. Market Street Ry. cars 
4> 5> 7i *7> 2 > an d 2I pass northern, southern, and eastern entrances; fare 7$. 

Traffic Regulations: Seventeen miles of auto roads. No trucks, drays, and 
delivery vehicles except on transverse drives, Ninth Ave. and Twenty-Fourth 
Ave. Speed limit 15 m.p.h. Parking allowed anywhere, except where for- 
bidden by signs, provided general traffic is not disturbed (special parking area, 
South Drive near Kezar Stadium). No double parking. 

Accommodations: Drinking fountains and comfort stations throughout park. 
Meals and beverages at Beach Chalet; lunch, tea, and tray service for pic- 
nickers at Children's Quarters; tea and rice cakes at Japanese Tea Garden. 
Picnicking allowed on all lawns; barbecue pits near Horseshoe Courts; tables 
near Children's Playground, Pioneer Log Cabin, and in George Washington 
Bicentennial Grove. Emergency Hospital (always open) near Stanyan and 
Frederick Sts. 

Art Collections and Museums: M. H. de Young Memorial Museum; lectures 
on permanent collection Sun. 2-4; puppet plays for children alternate Sat. 
10-12; children's puppet classes, Sat. 10-12, 1-3. North American Hall. Sim- 
son African Hall. Steinhart Aquarium. 

Band Concerts: Music Concourse, Sun. and holidays 2-4:30. 

Archery: Local, regional, and National tournaments in Golden Gate Park 
Stadium; participants provide own equipment (storage facilities for targets). 

Baseball: 9 diamonds between 5th and 7th Aves., near Lincoln Way; addi- 
tional grounds in Recreation Field and near Golden Gate Park Stadium. 

Basketball: Pavilion in front of Kezar Stadium. 

Bowling: 3 greens for men and women accommodating 64 players each (open 
only to members of San Francisco Men's Bowling Club or Women's Golden 
Gate Bowling Club). 

Card Games, Chess, Checkers: Ghirardelli Pavilion near Haight and Stanyan 
Sts.; tables accommodate 200 players. 

Cycling: Bicycles rented outside park on Stanyan St., at south end of Ocean 
Beach amusement area, and on Balboa St. near 4th and 5th Aves. 


Fly Casting: Pools south of Main Drive between Golden Gate Park Stadium 
and Middle Lake. Tournaments October-June. 

Football: Recreation Field. Golden Gate Park Stadium. Intercollegiate and 
high school games, Kezar Stadium. 

Handball: 4 courts adjoining baseball fields near 7th Ave. ; spectators' gallery. 

Horseshoe Pitching: 16 courts (barbecue pits, tables and chairs, and small 
clubhouse) on North Ridge Dr. 

Miniature Yachting: Spreckels Lake (clubhouse maintained by San Francisco 
Model Yacht Club, with work benches where members may build boats). 
Regattas Sun. and holiday afternoons. 

Polo: Golden Gate Park Stadium; see newspapers for dates. 

Riding: 25 miles of bridle paths. Hurdles for leaping in Equitation Field 
near 4ist Ave. and Lincoln Way. Mounts not available in park. 

Tennis: 21 courts near Children's Playground, fee 25^ per hour per court 
Sat., Sun., holidays; free other days; 8 courts in Recreation Field (players 
provide own nets). 

Volley Ball: Court near Children's Playground. 


(Note: "nfd" means no fixed date) 
Jan. i Kezar Stadium East- West Football Game 

Mar. nfd Spreckels Lake Miniature Yacht Regatta 

or Apr. nfd Children's Play- Easter Egg Hunt 


Mar.-May Golden Gate Park Track meets and tournaments 


Apr. Sun nearest 8 Japanese Tea Gar- Festival of birthday of Buddha 

May I Children's Play- May Day celebration 


Sept. nfd Kezar Stadium University of San Francisco- 

St. Mary's Football Game 

Oct. nfd Kezar Stadium St. Mary's-Santa Clara Foot- 

ball Game 


Nov. Thanksgiv- Kezar Stadium Polytechnic and Lowell High 
ing Day Schools Football Game 

Dec. nfd Lindley Meadow During holiday season the 

Three Wise Men are enacted 
by attendants who tend their 
flocks dressed as ancient shep- 

20 John McLaren's children's 

Christmas party and Christ- 
mas tree lighting 


242. At the entrance to the block-wide Panhandle, the cypress- arid 
eucalyptus-shaded strip extending eight blocks eastward from the main 
area of the park, stands the McKINLEY MONUMENT (Robert 
Ingersoll Aitken, sculptor), Baker St. between Fell and Oak Sts., a 
bronze heroic female figure, emblematic of the Republic, towering 35 
feet above a granite base. President Theodore Roosevelt broke ground 
for the memorial May 13, 1903. 

W '. from Panhandle park entrance on Main Dr. 

243. The sandstone, tile-roofed PARK LODGE, N. of Main Dr. 
near Panhandle park entrance, stands on a slight elevation surrounded 
by wide lawns. Although only a few steps from hurrying city traffic, 
the lodge has the quiet appearance of a country estate. Built in 1896 
at a cost of $25,000, it is occupied jointly by Park Administration offices 
and the household of Park Superintendent "Uncle" John McLaren. 
A huge Monterey cypress in front of the lodge is known as "Uncle 
John's Christmas Tree." 

244. The FUCHSIA GARDEN extends S. of Main Dr. near 
the Panhandle entrance, between a double row of tall cypresses. The 
collection includes fuchsias of a great variety of sizes and colors. 

N. from Main Dr. on North Ridge Dr. 

245. Steps made of old basalt paving blocks lead from North Ridge 
Dr. to the HORSESHOE COURTS, surrounded by trees and a stone 
retaining wall. The sixteen playing courts and the grounds were recon- 
structed in 1934 by the State Relief Administration. On the cliffs to 
east and south are giant bas-reliefs of a running horse and a man tossing 
a horseshoe, carved by "Vet" Anderson of the Horseshoe Club. 


Retrace on North Ridge Dr.; W . from North Ridge Dr. on Main Dr. 

246. On a wide green against a background of oak and acacia 
stands the HALLECK MONUMENT, S. of Main Dr, a tribute to 
the memory of Major-General Henry W. Halleck, General-in-chief of 

ff mor 

the Union Armies in 1862-64, "from his 'best friend'." It was erected 
in 1886 by Major-General George W. Cullum. The granite pedestal 
supports a heroic-size granite figure of Halleck in full uniform, wrapped 
in his military cape (C. Conrads, sculptor). 

247. THE BASEBALL PLAYER, S. of Main Dr., an early 
bronze by Douglas Tilden depicting a mustachioed player of the eighties 
throwing a ball, cast in Paris in 1889, was erected in 1892 by W. E. 
Brown as tribute to Tilden's "energy, industry and ability." 


248. In the shade of Monterey pines and cypresses the BOWLES 
RHODODENDRONS, N. of Main Dr., border the approach to Con- 
servatory Valley on the east. They were given by Mrs. Philip E. 
Bowles, as a memorial to her husband. Of the park's thousands of 
rhododendrons, some are always in bloom from February through June, 
although the largest number appear in full bloom in April. 

249. The JAMES A. GARFIELD MONUMENT stands on a 
knoll N. of Main Dr. On the steps of a granite base sits a mourning 
female figure holding a broken sword and a wreath. Above stands a 
heroic-size bronze statue of the martyred president. Modeled by Frank 
Happersberger and cast in Munich, the work was unveiled July 4, 1885. 

250. N. of Main Dr. from the broad lawns of shallow Conservatory 
Valley where formal flower beds are gay with bloom the year round 
a broad flight of steps leads to a marble fountain and the CONSER- 
VATORY (open 8-5 daily}. This glass structure whose two wings 
flank a central octagonal rotunda and dome, modeled after the Royal 
Conservatories at Kew Gardens, is the successor to one constructed in 
1878 of materials purchased in England by James Lick. Destroyed by 
fire in 1822, it was replaced with funds donated by Charles Crocker. 
A glassed-in vestibule leads into the rotunda, where rare palms from 
the Norfolk Islands, Central and South America, Sumatra and Java, 
China and Japan lift their green fronds above semitropical plants from 
Australia, New South Wales, and Lord Howe's Island. The center 
room of the east wing harbors a jungle-like growth of palms, vines, 
and ferns from Malacca, India, South Africa, Japan, Brazil, and 
Mexico. In the end room is a rockery green with ferns and other plants 
and a small pool stocked with gold fish. Plants from Peru, China, 
and South Africa grow in a hot and humid atmosphere. Floating on 
the waters of the pool here from July to January are the giant pads of 
the Victoria regia, a water lily native to the waters of the Amazon 
River, whose petals open in mid-afternoon and close in mid-morning 
when it blooms in September. In the center room of the west wing 
grow semitropical plants from Africa, China, India, Central and South 
America, and a small collection of orchids. The end room offers rotat- 
ing seasonal exhibits of potted flowering plants. In the hothouse nur- 
series behind the Conservatory gardeners have developed a collection of 
about 7,000 orchids. 

251. The LIBERTY TREE, a redwood planted by the Daughters 
of the American Revolution April 19, 1894, on the anniversary of the 
Battle of Lexington, stands in this area. 

252. The McKINNON MONUMENT, S. side of Main Dr. 
(J. McQuarrie, sculptor), depicting the uniformed figure of Father 
William D. McKinnon, chaplain of the First California Volunteers of 


the Spanish-American War, is set against a background of evergreen 
shrubs and cypresses. 

mings, sculptor), S. of Main Dr. near McKinnon Monument, a heroic 
bronze of the Scotch poet, stands on a sloping lawn against a back- 
ground of cypresses and tall pittosporum. Here the birthday of 
"Bobby" Burns, January 25, is observed annually by enthusiastic Scots. 

SE. from Main Dr. on drive encircling Music Concourse 

254. The MUSIC CONCOURSE (band concerts Sun. and holi- 
days 2-4:30), S. of Main Dr. near Eighth Ave. park entrance, a sunken, 
outdoor auditorium seating 20,000, is 12 feet below the surface of the 
surrounding roadway. It is bordered by clipped hedges and terraced 
lawns and roofed by formal rows of trees. In line with the central 
aisle are three circular fountains. Around the concourse were grouped 
the buildings of the California Mid-Winter International Exposition 
of 1894. 

255. A memorial to the Unitarian minister who fought to keep 
California in the Union during the Civil War is the THOMAS 
STARR KING MONUMENT, Main Dr. and Music Concourse Dr. 
(Daniel Chester French, sculptor). On the granite base bearing the 
bronze figure is inscribed: "In Him Eloquence Strength and Virtue 
were Devoted with Fearless Courage to Truth Country and His 
Fellow-Men. 1 824-64." 

256. The CERVANTES MONUMENT, NE. corner Music 
Concourse, a bronze head of Miguel de Cervantes (Jo Mora, sculptor), 
looks down gravely from a rugged pile of native rock upon the kneeling 
figures of Cervantes' fictional creations, Don Quixote and Sancho 

257. Portrayed advancing with a tall cross, the padre-presidente of 
the California missions is memorialized by the JUNIPERO SERRA 
MONUMENT, opposite the Cervantes Monument. Dedicated No- 
vember 17, 1907 by the Native Sons of the Golden West, the bronze 
is the work of Douglas Tilden. 

Music Concourse, is a bronze bust of Grant (R. Schmid, sculptor). 
On the base are listed his principal battles. 

259. On the NW. side of the Music Concourse, flanked by trim 
lawns and stately Irish yews, is the M. H. DE YOUNG MEMO- 
RIAL MUSEUM (open daily 10-5). Of sixteenth-century Spanish 
Renaissance design, the building's pale salmon-colored facades are bur- 
dened with rococo ornamentation. Its two wings extend from either 
side of a 134-foot tower, facing a landscaped court. In the court, before 


the main entrance, lies the POOL OF ENCHANTMENT (M. Earl Cum- 
mings, sculptor), in which a sculptured Indian boy pipes to two listen- 
ing mountain lions on a rocky island. At the building's southeast 
corner, a bronze SUN DIAL (M. Earl Cummings, sculptor) commemo- 
rates "the first Three Navigators to the California Coast: Fortuno 
Ximenes, 1534 Juan de Cabrillo, 1542 Sir Francis Drake, 1579." 
In front of the west wing stands the VINTAGE, designed by Paul Gus- 
tave Dore, a massive three-ton bronze vase depicting in bas-relief the 
story of the grape. The symbolic sculptures above the main entrance 
to the museum are by Haig Patigian; other exterior sculptures, by Leo 

The museum is a heritage of the California Mid-Winter Inter- 
national Exposition, whose guiding spirit, Michael de Young, pub- 
lisher of the Chronicle, proposed that the $75,000 profits of the fair 
be used to house a permanent collection of art. In the fair's Egyptian- 
style Fine Arts Building the museum was opened March 25, 1895. A 
collection of 6,000 objects bought from the fair was the nucleus of the 
present collection of more than 1,000,000 items. Throughout Europe 
De Young searched for treasures, while pioneer-minded citizens sent 
grandfather's boots and grandmother's sunbonnets, until the museum 
was congested with "historical curiosities" so great in number that 
many have not yet been cataloged. The small, dark rooms were heaped 
to the rafters with Italian marbles, bric-a-brac, and objets d'art of the 
bonanza period. When the original Fine Arts Building became too 
crowded to hold anything else, construction was begun in 1917 on the 
first unit of the present building (Louis Mullgardt, architect) erected 
with funds donated by M. H. de Young to which a second wing 
was added in 1925, and a third (Frederick H. Meyer, architect) in 
1931. Condemned as unsafe in 1926, the old building was torn down. 
All that remains as a reminder of the old structure are the two sphinxes 
and bronze lion to the east of the museum. 

The museum's galleries enclose the sunken Great Court beyond the 
main entrance and extend through the wings on either side. Around 
the Great Court are galleries 1-21. A transverse corridor leads right 
to galleries 22-49 and left to galleries 50-60. (A floor plan near the 
main entrance aids visitors.) Exhibits in galleries 1-21 are arranged 
in chronological sequence: 

1. Egyptian: mummies, carved figures in stone, statuettes, vases 

2. Greek: red-figured amphorae, vases 

3. Roman: pottery, jewelry, a marble sarcophagus 

4. Northern Europe, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries: a large 
Flemish tapestry, wood carvings 

5. Northern Europe, fourteenth to sixteenth centuries: German and 


Flemish primitives, including Isenbrant's Madonna and Child, Van 
Cleve's Lucre tia, French limestone statue, Virgin and Child (c. 1340) 

6. Southern Europe, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Italian 
primitives, including Vivarini's Madonna and Child and a small Vero- 
nese ecclesiastical chair of wrought iron and brass covered with Genoese 

7. Southern Europe, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: furniture, 
Veronese's Virgin and Angel of the Annunciation 

8. Italian, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries : furniture and paint- 

9. A wood-panelled room (north Italian of the late seventeenth cen- 
tury), polychrome decorations 

10. English and Dutch, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: fur- 
niture and paintings 

11. European decorative arts, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: 
Delft ware, German armor, Conca's Adoration of the Lamb 

12. French, eighteenth century: furniture, harpischord, Beauvais 
tapestry, Sevres porcelains 

13. European decorative arts, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: 
glass, china, furniture 

14. English and American, eighteenth century: portraits by Kneller, 
Reynolds, Romney, Gainsborough, Copley, and Raeburn's Portrait of 
Sir William Napier; furniture 

15. Northern European, eighteenth century: an Aubusson tapestry, 
furniture, Vernet's Seaport at Dawn, miniatures 

1 6. French, early nineteenth century: Napoleonic furniture, includ- 
ing a throne chair of Napoleon I 

17. American, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: portraits, 
one by Benjamin West; mahogany furniture 

1 8. American, mid-nineteenth century: portraits of California 
pioneers by Nahl, Martinelli, and unknown artists 

19. 20, 21. American decorative arts, eighteenth century: silver, 
pewter, luster ware, glass, early American portraits 

22-29. Loan exhibits 

30. Print room 

31. Textile study room 

32. Musical instruments 

33. Eastern art 

35. Chinese art: sculpture, porcelains 

36 and 41. Japanese art: porcelains, priests' robes 

42. Indo-China, Java, Bali 

43. South Sea Islands 

44. Peru and Mexico : Mayan food and ceremonial vessels, Aztec oil 


and pulque jars, water and drinking vessels, vases, incense burners; 
Peruvian jugs, bowls, and effigy vessels 

45-46. North American Indians: jars of Acoma Indians of New 
Mexico, of California Pomos; weapons, utensils and ornaments of other 
California aborigines; bead work 

47-48. Textiles 

49. Reproductions of classical sculpture 

50. Paintings and prints of early California 

51. California interior (c. 1850), bed-sitting-room 

52. California interior (c. 1865), drawing room 

53. Changing exhibits of Californiana 

54. Study room for history of California 

55. Nineteenth-century paintings 

56. California interior, 1870, parlor 

57. California interior, 1885, lady's boudoir 

58. Costumes; portraits of California pioneers 

59. Ship models; eight-foot timber from Natalie (which took Napo- 
leon from Elba to France), beached near Monterey, 1843; Fire Engine 
No. i, 1850 

60. Arms, military equipment: cannon used in Thirty Years' War; 
bronze mortar, Peru, 1780; relics of U. S. S. Maine; Civil and World 
War items 

260. The CIDER PRESS MONUMENT, NW. side Music 
Concourse, represents a nude male in heroic size operating a cider press ; 
a child kneels at his feet holding an apple. Purchased from the French 
Commission, the statue (Thomas S. Clarke, sculptor) was presented to 
the park by the Executive Committee of the California Mid- Winter 
International Exposition in 1894. 

261. In the $75,000 Italian Renaissance MUSIC PAVILION, 
SW. end Music Concourse, gift of sugar magnate Claus Spreckels in 
1900, Sunday afternoon band concerts are presented. Built of gray 
Colusa sandstone, it has a high proscenium arch over the music platform 
flanked by balustraded colonnades. 

262. Arching over the eastern entrance to the JAPANESE TEA 
GARDEN (open daily 10-5), W. of Music Concourse, is a two-storied 
ro-mon (gate) carved of hinoki wood, used in Japan before temple 
entrances. Precipitous, bamboo-railed paths wander through the five- 
acre garden, over grassy slopes planted with camellias, magnolia trees, 
cryptomeria, and red-leafed Japanese maples. Between lichen-covered 
rocks, little streams crossed by small stone bridges descend to a chain 
of five small pools planted to water iris and stocked with goldfish. 
Over a still pool curves a "wishing bridge" whose reflection in the 
water completes a perfect circle. In spring, flowering quince, plum, 
and cherry trees burst into sprays of blossom. Here and there grow a 


hundred or more fantastically gnarled bonsai, misshapen conifers, some 
a century old but none more than three feet in height (to stunt their 
growth roots and branches are constantly pruned, and only a minimum 
of water is allowed). 

In the thatched tea house near the eastern gate girls in kimonos 
serve pale green tea and wafer-like cakes to guests sitting at tables made 
of tree trunks. Along one side of the pavilion, sunlight falls through 
a lattice arbor burdened with fragrant blossoms of white and lavender 
wistaria in season. Beyond the tea house is a two-story, four-room 
zashiki (house) with wooden walls, sliding panels, and window panes 
of rice paper. The interior is severely simple. The floors are covered 
with matting. There is a tokonomo (alcove) for the display of flower 
arrangements. A huge, red, black, and gold Buddha sits in serene con- 
templation at the foot of a slope on whose summit is a copper-roofed 
Shinto shrine. One of the chief attractions of the 1894 exposition (it 
was the Japanese Village), the garden is operated by descendants of its 
original proprietor. 

Music Concourse, was designed and executed in Milan (Orazio Gros- 
soni, sculptor) and presented by the local Italian colony in 1914. On 
the granite base below the bronze bust of the composer a male figure 
holds an hour glass and a laurel wreath, and two children unfurl an 
Italian flag. 

264. The BEETHOVEN MONUMENT, SE. side Music Con- 
course, a portrait bust in bronze, rests on a formal granite column at 
whose base stands Music, a draped female figure holding a lyre. The 
gift of the Beethoven Mannerchor of New York, it was dedicated 
August 6, 1915. 

265. The ROBERT EMMET MONUMENT, SE. side Music 
Concourse, a life-size bronze of the Irish patriot, bears in gold letters 
simply his name, in conformance with his last wish before he was exe- 
cuted: "When my country takes her place among the nations of the 
earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written." The work of 
Jerome Connor, the statue was presented by Senator James D. Phelan 
in 1919. Here gather the United Irish Societies for yearly observances 
of Robert Emmet's birthday, which always includes a rendition of his 
"Speech Before the Dock." 

266. Erected in 1887 with a $60,000 bequest of philanthropist 
Music Concourse, represents the author of "The Star Spangled Ban- 
ner" sitting on a travertine pedestal inscribed with the words of his 
song under a canopy upheld by four Corinthian columns and crowned 
by bronze eagles, buffalo heads, and a heroic-sized bronze female figure 
of Liberty bearing a banner and a sword. 


267. On the SE. side of Music Concourse are the three buildings 
of the CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, the oldest scien- 
tific institution in the West. Supported partly by endowments and 
bequests and partly by city funds, the institution maintains North 
American Hall, Steinhart Aquarium, and Simson African Hall, build- 
ings in harmonizing architecture whose white concrete walls enclose 
three sides of a paved quadrangle. The Academy's exhibits of flora 
and fauna are only one of its many activities. Its scientific expeditions 
(on many Templeton Crocker's yacht Zaca has been employed) have 
gone to Alaska, Panama, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South 
America, and many of the Pacific Islands. More than 3,000,000 sepa- 
rate specimens have been collected. It has furnished materials and 
facilities for original research in the biological and physical sciences, 
maintaining research departments in the fields of botany, entomology, 
herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, ornithology and mam- 
malogy, and paleontology. Its activities are primarily concerned with 
the natural history and geology of the lands bordering the Pacific Ocean 
and its islands. 

On April 4, 1853, seven men interested in science met at Lewis W. 
Sloat's Montgomery Street office; on June 27, 1853, they incorporated as 
the California Academy of Natural Sciences. For many years their 
meetings were held in the office of Colonel Thomas J. Nevins, one of 
the seven founders and San Francisco's first Superintendent of Schools. 
The "Proceedings," first published in a newspaper, began to appear in 
illustrated volumes. The library and museum grew and moved in 1874 
to larger quarters in a church. In 1891 the Academy established itself 
on property at Fourth and Market Streets deeded to it by James Lick. 
Under the terms of Lick's will it became one of two residuary legatees, 
receiving one-half of whatever remained after all other bequests had 
been paid. With the $20,000 given by Charles Crocker in 1881 and 
additional funds from Leland Stanford, it created a large natural his- 
tory exhibit. Other benefactors included John W. Hendrie and Wil- 
liam Alvord. When the Market Street home of the Academy was 
demolished by the earthquake and fire of 1906, San Francisco citizens 
voted to reestablish it in Golden Gate Park. 

NORTH AMERICAN HALL (open daily 10-5), popularly called the 
Museum of Natural History, is approached by a wide entrance stairway 
before which are embedded four old millstones from early California 
flour mills. Opened in 1916, it was the first unit of the Califor- 
nia Academy of Science group. In the vestibule are displays of freshly 
cut flowers and growing plants labeled with both their botanical and 
common names. The vestibule leads into Mammal Hall, which, illu- 
minated by skylights, has 15 large and many small habitat groups, each 
glass-enclosed and backed by a painted cyclorama. Of the animals 


shown here, collected especially because of the threat of their extinction, 
all but the grizzly bear and the fur-bearing seal are still to be seen in 
California. Beginning at the right of the entrance hall, the large 
habitat groups are: Roosevelt elk, near a forest stream of the Olympic 
Mountains west of Puget Sound; San Joaquin Valley elk, dwarf elk, 
tule elk, and wapiti, found in Kern County, in the long tule grass 
bordering a river; Northern and Columbian black-tailed deer, in a 
shaded dell of Mendocino County; Imperial grizzly bear, in a lakeside 
valley of Yellowstone Park below towering Wyoming mountains; 
Rocky Mountain mule deer, in a snow-covered bit of Sierra Nevada 
forest; prong-horn antelope, in a barren mountain landscape of Modoc 
County; desert mountain or bighorn sheep, in the San Jacinto Moun- 
tains of Riverside County; mountain lions, found in Humboldt County; 
northwestern black, brown, and cinnamon bears, found in Humboldt 
County; Alaska fur seal, on a rocky coast of St. George Island in the 
Bering Sea ; leopard and California harbor seals, in a rookery at Cypress 
Point near Monterey Bay; California sea lions, in a rookery on Santa 
Cruz. Island, Santa Barbara County; Steller sea lions, in a rookery on 
Ano Nuevo Island, San Mateo County; California raccoon and Cali- 
fornia skunk; California valley coyote and prairie wolf, found in 
Moraga Valley, Alameda County. 

Mammal Hall opens into Bird Hall. The larger habitat groups 
are, beginning left of the entrance, in order: Western meadow lark, 
San Joaquin waterfowl, Nuttall sparrow, sharp-shinned hawk, Cali- 
fornia condor, California vulture and desert birds. In the condor group, 
a nest high on a cliff near the headwaters of the San Antonio River in 
Monterey County is shown. Among the smaller groups are one show- 
ing 14 species resting on the rocky cliffs of a rookery on the Farallon 
Islands and one showing a flock of white pelicans in their breeding 
colony on Anaho Island in Pyramid Lake, Nevada. Other birds include 
the California linnet, quail, and clapper rail; coast bushtit; Lazuli 
bunting; Western robin; water ouzel; and many varieties of sea gulls 
and wild ducks. 

Parallel to Mammal Hall is a corridor displaying a cross section of 
a California big tree (Sequoia gigantea), from Sequoia National Park. 
The tree is estimated to have been 1,710 years old when it fell in 1917. 
It was 330 feet high and 25 feet in diameter at the base. In this same 
corridor are collections of fluorescent minerals, semiprecious stones, but- 
terflies and water colors of California wild flowers. 

The other rooms of the building are occupied by the 65,OOO-volume 
library of the California Academy of Sciences and its research depart- 
ments in botany, herpetology, mammalogy, ornithology, and paleon- 
tology. These departments house study collections including about 
8,000 mammals, 57,000 birds, and 69,000 reptiles (among which is a 


notable collection of reptiles from the Galapagos Islands). The her- 
barium of 275,000 mounted plants has grown from 1,000 specimens 
saved from the earthquake and fire of 1906 by Alice Eastwood, curator 
of the botany department. The collection of the department of paleon- 
tology includes 1,600,000 specimens. 

STEINHART AQUARIUM (open daily 10-5) houses its collection of 
fresh- and salt-water life behind a gray stucco facade ornamented with 
white classic pillars. Facing the entrance to the aquarium are three 
outdoor pools for sea lions, otter, and other aquatic mammals (feeding 
time 4 p.m.). In the high, pillared lobby is a sunken tank where 
turtles, water snakes, giant bullfrogs, and alligators move about in an 
imitation tropical swamp. Along the lobby walls glass cases contain 
hundreds of small tropical fish of brilliant hues, indigenous snakes, Gila 
monsters, colorful sea anemones, star fish, sea urchins and mollusks. 

From the lobby extend corridors lined with glass tanks built into 
the walls. Specimens from American streams and Pacific waters include 
giant sea turtles, crested and speckled eels, fantastic sea horses, peri- 
scopic flounders, turkey fish, and electric and bat sting-rays. Among 
the most unusual are the climbing perch, an oriental fish which climbs 
the submerged roots of trees and is able to exist out of the water, and 
the two varieties of lung fish, Australian and African, which breathe 
through lungs and gills. Trout and other game fish are well repre- 

Founded in 1923, the gift of Ignatz Steinhart, the aquarium con- 
tained 500 species and 12,000 individual fish in 1940. Its collection 
has been increased by a system of exchange with the Sydney, Australia, 
aquarium. In 1939 alone, the institution received 3,000 gifts; among 
its donors have been Templeton Crocker and Capt. G. Allan Hancock. 

In the rear of Steinhart Aquarium a graveled walk leads to a shed 
sheltering the 75-foot skeleton of a SULPHUR BOTTOM WHALE, cap- 
tured off the coast of Vancouver Island in 1908. Native to the Cali- 
fornia coast, the Sulphur Bottom is the largest and swiftest of whales. 
The skulls of a finback, a Baird's beaked, and humpbacked whale, all 
obtained on the California coast in 1925, are also on display. 

SIMSON AFRICAN HALL (open Sun. and Wed. 1-5), newest of the 
Academy buildings and similar in design to North American Hall, was 
built by Leslie Simson, retired mining engineer and sportsman who 
collected specimens of African wild life from expeditions to Kenya. 
The habitat groups are shown with scrupulous accuracy of detail, against 
mural backgrounds representing African scenery in the localities where 
the specimens were collected. Simson as a boy learned to prepare bird 
and mammal skins from his father, who had received similar instruc- 
tions from the son of John J. Audubon, the great artist-ornithologist. 

The predominant habitat group represents an African water hole 


on the edge of the veldt with distant mountains under clear blue skies 
in the background. Around the oasis in naturalistic pose are gathered 
several specimens each of the impalla, the Masai giraffe, the zebra, the 
white-bearded gnu or wildebeest, the Grant's gazelle and the Coke's 
hartebeest. The trees, shrubs, rocks, and plants stand in sharp con- 
trast to the grassy plains stretching away to the foothills. In twenty- 
three other groups ten large, one intermediate, and twelve small in 
size are grouped several specimens each of such exotic creatures as the 
Beisa oryx, black lechwe, bushback, bush duiker, cheetah, dik-dik, Dor- 
cas gazelle, gerenuk, Hunter's hartebeest, klipspringer, mountain nyala, 
oribi, steinbok, and waterbuck, as well as specimens of the better-known 
African lion, baboon, gorilla, Grevy's zebra, African leopard, monkey, 
roan and sable antelope, and hunting dog. 

On the second floor of African Hall is the Department of Ento- 
mology, containing more than a million mounted insects, largest research 
entomological west of the Smithsonian Institution. The Department of 
Ichthyology in the basement has a collection of about 200,000 specimens 
of fish, especially rich in South American fresh water fish. 

268. In a bower of English laurel is the GOETHE-SCHILLER 
MONUMENT, E. of Simson Hall, a pedestal of red Missouri granite 
supporting bronze figures of the two German poets. A reproduction 
of a monument in Weimar, Germany (Ernst Rietschel, sculptor), it was 
presented by citizens of German descent in 1901. 

269. Facing the Music Concourse against a background of tall pines 
Concourse, a bronze statue of General John J. Pershing ( Haig Patigian, 
sculptor) in khaki field uniform with a crushed German helmet at his 
feet, presented by Dr. Morris Herzstein in 1922. 

W. from drive encircling Music Concourse on Main Dr. 

270. A shaded road winds through HEROES GROVE, N. of 
Main Dr., a 15-acre tract of redwoods dedicated to San Francisco 
soldiers killed in the World War. Their names are inscribed on a 
large obelisk-shaped boulder. 

271. The REDWOOD MEMORIAL GROVE, N. of Main Dr., 
was dedicated by the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West 
and the Gold Star Mothers of America to the San Francisco men and 
women who lost their lives in the World War. In the Grove of 
Memory, a section of the main grove, a redwood for each of the dead 
towers high above the DOUGHBOY MONUMENT, a bronze figure of a 
young soldier who stands, hatless and bare-armed, on a 2O-ton rock 
base. Once part of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, this 
statue (M. Earl Cummings, sculptor) was purchased by the 52 San 


Francisco parlors of the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden 

272. The PIONEER LOG CABIN, S. of Main Dr. on an un- 
named drive W. of Redwood Memorial Grove, was built in 1911 of 
logs floated down from Mendocino County. The structure, set in a 
redwood grove (picnicking facilities}, is the property of the Association 
of Pioneer Women of California, who convene there monthly around 
the huge brick fireplace. 

273. Composed of one tree for each of the Thirteen Original Colo- 
nies, a group of HISTORIC TREES, planted along a path leading 
south from the intersection of Main Drive and the drive to the Pioneer 
Log Cabin, commemorates the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown 
in 1785. Notable are a cedar from Valley Forge and a tree from 
Thomas Jefferson's grave. The trees were planted in 1896 by the 
Sequoia Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. 

274. The sandstone PRAYER BOOK CROSS, N. of Main Dr., 
modeled after an ancient Celtic Cross on the Scottish island of lona, 
towers 57 feet above the edge of a bluff. It was erected in 1894 by 
the Northern California Episcopal diocese in commenoration of the 
first use of the Book of Common Prayer on the Pacific Coast by Francis 
Fletcher, Chaplain to Francis Drake, who conducted a service on the 
shore of Drake's Bay June 24, 1579. 

275. On Sundays and holidays, tiny RAINBOW FALLS, N. of 
Main Dr., rush over a cliff at the base of Prayer Book Cross into a 
fern-bordered pool. Artificially fed from a reservoir atop Strawberry 
Hill, they were named when colored electric lights were strung along 
the cliff to make rainbows appear in the spray. 

276. LLOYD LAKE, N. of Main Dr., fed by a tiny stream that 
ripples over a rocky ledge, is encircled by a graveled path. 

277. The PORTALS OF THE PAST, six white marble Ionic 
Pillars reflected in the tranquil surface of Lloyd Lake, are all that 
remain of A. N. Towne's Nob Hill residence burned in the 1906 fire. 

278. Nine-acre MARX MEADOWS, NW. of Lloyd Lake, were 
named for Mrs. Johannah Augusta Marx, who bequeathed $5,ooo for 
beautification of the park in 1922. 

279. BROOM POINT, S. of Main Dr., since early days has been 
a landmark identified by the bright yellow blossoms of Scotch broom 
that grow there in profusion. 

280. Within the confines of 25-acre LINDLEY MEADOW, S. of 
Main Dr., grazes a herd of sheep. Each December the meadow be- 
comes a living Christmas card, with shepherds in biblical costume herd- 
ing grazing sheep. 

281. Homing ground for migratory game and domestic waterfowl, 
SPRECKELS LAKE, N. of Main Dr., supplies much of the water 


for the park irrigation system. Each Sunday from March to late Sep- 
tember the miniature sail and speed boats of the San Francisco Model 
Yacht Club clip their trim way across its rippling waters, some attain- 
ing a speed of 40 miles an hour. 

282. The MODEL YACHT CLUBHOUSE (members only), 
W. of Spreckels Lake, a one-story structure of concrete and glass brick, 
is headquarters for miniature yacht enthusiasts. The Model Yacht 
Club members, in its fully equipped workshop, build tiny boats which 
duplicate in every detail their full-sized models. 

283. The fences of the BUFFALO ENCLOSURE, N. of Main 
Dr., are so cleverly concealed in the surrounding forest that the herd 
of about 15 buffalo seem to be roaming at large. 

284. Within the buffalo enclosure are the DEER PADDOCKS, 
occupied by small herds of Belgian deer and California elk. 

285. The CHAIN OF LAKES, N. and S. of Main Dr., is a 
series of artificial lakes bordered by wilder and more rugged vegetation 
than is found elsewhere in the park. North Lake, N. of Main Dr., 
largest of the three, is dotted with several islands planted with birches, 
rhododendrons, and other shrubs. Waterfowl preen their plumage on 
the surface of the water and feed among the wild grasses in the shallows. 
Middle Lake, S. of Main Dr., is framed by 800 camellia and Japanese 
cherry trees. 

286. A 150-yard-long RECREATION FIELD, W. of Main Dr. 
facing the ocean, includes facilities for football, Softball, soccer, and 
tennis players, and a dressing room with showers. 

287. The white, cedar-shingled NORTH WINDMILL (not open 
to public), E. of Main Dr. near NW. corner of park, is an authentic 
copy of a Dutch windmill. Seen from the Pacific, the structure is in 
astonishing contrast to the greenery of Golden Gate Park and the sky- 
line of the city beyond. Constructed in 1903 to pump water for the 
park's irrigation system, it since has been equipped with electric pumps; 
but sails are attached during the summer months. 

288. Reminiscent of the Maine Coast is the UNITED STATES 
COAST GUARD STATION (open after 3 p.m.), NW. corner of 
park, occupying three white buildings enclosed by a picket fence. A 
force of 1 1 men are stationed here to aid distressed vessels. One of 
the three buildings was constructed in 1870 when the station was 

S. from Main Dr. on Great Highway 

289. The stumpy, schooner-rigged 47-ton sloop GJOA, E. of Great 
Highway near NW. corner of park, only ship to negotiate the ice- 
bound Northwest Passage, rests in its rocky dry dock behind an iron- 


spiked fence overlooking the Pacific. The Gjoa was given to San 
Francisco in 1909 by her commander, Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen. 
The sloop was built at Hardanger Fjord, Norway, in 1872. After 
29 years of active service as a herring boat and sealer, she was purchased 
by Amundsen. With her superstructure strengthened, her hull sheathed 
in hardwood, and iron strips bolted to her bow, she was equipped with 
a 13-horsepower motor. On June 16, 1903, the Gjoa set sail from 
Christiana (now Oslo), Norway, bound for the Arctic and that North- 
west Passage, the existence of which for centuries had troubled the 
minds of the adventurous. Aboard were Amundsen, six companions, 
Eskimo dogs, scientific instruments, and enough stores for five years. 

Disaster soon struck at the expedition. A fire broke out in the 
engine room. A mysterious malady killed many of the dogs. In the 
Northwest Passage the sloop was grounded on a reef and her false 
keel ripped off. Only after precious deck cargo had been tossed over- 
board was she refloated. At long last the Gjoa halted in King William 
Land, in a bay later named Gjoahaven. 

For three years Amundsen remained in the Arctic, with the tem- 
perature often "60 degrees below." Completely cut off from civiliza- 
tion, the expedition nevertheless went busily about its work of gathering 
scientific data. In addition to discovering the Passage, they succeeded 
in fixing the location of the magnetic pole. Finally the Gjoa set sail 
once more, passing through the Bering Sea and thence into the Pacific 
Ocean and down the Coast to San Francisco. She dropped anchor off 
Point Bonita one October day in 1906. In the celebration that fol- 
lowed, American warships dipped their flags to the men who had at 
last sailed the near-legendary Northwest Passage. 

290. The two-story BEACH CHALET (open daily except Mon. 
io-6) y E. of Great Highway, has a large glassed-in dining room over- 
looking the ocean and the Great Highway. The foyer is ornamented 
with murals and mosaics by WPA artists. 

E. from Great Highway on South Dr. 

291. The MURPHY WINDMILL (not open to public), N. of 
South Dr. near SW. corner of park, the second of the park's two Dutch 
mills, is one of the largest sail-type structures in the world, having a 
wing spread of 114 feet. Erected in 1905 to supply water for irrigation, 
it was equipped with electric pumps in 1927. At the present time the 
sails are operated only as an "exhibit." 

292. In the EQUITATION FIELD, N. of South Dr., a fenced, 
sandy area 25 by 75 yards, skilled equestrians urge their horses over 
practice hurdles. The adjacent Beach Stables house the horses used 
in the park. 


NE. from South Dr. on unnamed drive 

293. Not since early in the century has the three-quarter-mile track 
of GOLDEN GATE PARK STADIUM, N. of South Dr., thun- 
dered to the hoofbeats of thoroughbreds. A bicycle track, a cinder 
path, a football field, and a polo field occupy the space within the hedge 
that borders the inner rim of the trotting track. At the end of the 
last century two driving clubs dominated equestrian activities in San 
Francisco: the Golden Gate Driving Club, composed of men of wealth, 
and the San Francisco Driving Club (the "Steam Beer Club") of 
members in more moderate circumstances. The organizations built the 
track by private subscription according to the designs of Park Superin- 
tendent John McLaren and Park Commissioner A. B. Spreckels. Chief 
use of the trotting track at present is for training purposes. The stables 
were replaced in 1939 by the WPA-built Polo Sheds, a group of four 
gray concrete tile-roofed buildings. The sheds house not polo ponies, 
but race horses in training for track events throughout the country. 
In return for free quarters owners put their horses in for one trotting 
race each season, the proceeds of which go toward upkeep of track and 

294. The angler finds an ideal practice pool in the cement-lined, 
WPA-built FLYCASTING POOL (free), W. end of Golden Gate 
Park Stadium, hidden in a woodland setting with eucalyptus and ever- 
green trees mirrored in its placid surface. With an overall length of 
450 feet and a width of 185 feet, the pool is divided into three sections, 
one of which is used for distance casting, one for accuracy, and the 
third, provided with graduated steps rising above the surface, for im- 
proving skill in difficult overhead shots. Overlooking the pool is An- 
glers' Lodge, a wooden building with hand-hewn window frames and 
wrought-iron fittings, headquarters of the Golden Gate Angling and 
Casting Club, which, as the San Francisco Fly Casting Club, func- 
tioned as early as 1890. Of its open tournaments from October to 
June, largest is the Washington's Birthday Handicap. 

E. from unnamed drive on Middle Dr. 

295. METSON LAKE, S. of Middle Dr., part of the park irriga- 
tion system, with its grassy shores, large boulders, and background of 
conifers, has the appearance of a lake in a mountain meadow. 

Retrace on Middle Dr. to unnamed drive; SE. from Middle Dr. on 
unnamed drive to South Dr.; E. from unnamed drive on South Dr. 

296. Rock-rimmed MALLARD LAKE, S. of South Dr., with its 
wooded islet and tiny falls, is a favored stopover for September's south- 


bound duck traffic. Here thousands of transient mallard and canvas- 
back graciously fraternize with their stay-at-home cousins, the drab little 
mud-hens for whom the lakelet is "home." For years this was known 
as Hobo Lake, because transient workers on the roadways during the 
1894 Mid-Winter Fair rested here between labors on the patches of 

297. A head-high wire fence encloses ELK GLEN, N. of South 
Dr., a wooded dell where the hoofs of elk, Scotch sheep, East Indian 
deer, and buffalo have churned into dusty waves the brown earth around 
their miniature lake. The elk herd has grown from a pair of the ani- 
mals given to the city by Alvinza Hayward in 1890. Although death- 
struggles between the bucks during mating time have occurred on the 
reservation, the animals are gentle enough to nibble leaves from the 
hands of visitors. 

298. The redwoods of the GEORGE WASHINGTON BICEN- 
TENNIAL GROVE, S. of South Dr., were planted February 22, 
1932, in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of Washington's birth. 

299. The HERBERT HOOVER TREE, adjoining George 
Washington Grove, a redwood tree planted by the Daughters of the 
American Revolution in 1935, commemorates the ex-president's work 
in conservation. 

300. Encircling the base of steep, wooded Strawberry Hill is 
STOW LAKE, N. of South Dr., bordered by tree-lined walks and 
winding driveways. Central reservoir for the park's irrigation system, 
it is the largest of the park's artificial lakes. On the wooded islets 
that dot its surface nest waterfowl, both wild and domestic brant, 
pelicans, black and white swans, and wild ducks, arriving in the autumn 
on their migration southward from as far north as the Arctic. Straw- 
berry Hill, reached by two stone bridges across narrow parts of the 
lake, is the highest elevation in the park. The steep slopes are covered 
with cypress, eucalyptus, and long-leafed acacia. From the summit 
(428 alt.) are visible on clear days the Farallon Islands, gray dots on 
the horizon, 26 miles out in the Pacific. 

301. HUNTINGTON FALLS leaps 75 feet from the summit of 
Strawberry Hill down a bed of glistening, fern-lined rocks. It was 
named for Collis P. Huntington, railroad magnate, who contributed 
$25,000 for the beautification of the bleak sand dunes of the city's new 
park. The water for the falls is pumped to the top of the hill at the 
rate of 1,600,000 gallons a day. 

302. Plants rare and useful from far-away places grow in the 
ARBORETUM (open Mon.-Fri. 8-4), S. of South Dr., a 4O-acre 
plot of which a fourth is under cultivation. A bequest by Mrs. Helen 
Strybing has made possible plans which will include several acres of 
native California plants and a building housing a laboratory, library, 


and botanical collections. The new outlay also provides for classrooms 
where gardeners will be trained for their work in the park. 

Plants are arranged in geographical groupings. Near the entrance, 
off South Dr., grow shrubs and trees from South Africa, including the 
aloe, which often reaches a height of 60 feet. South of this group is 
the Australian and New Zealand section, where grows the kauri, a 
primitive pine nearly extinct. West of the Australian group is the 
Mexican area with its Mexican or Montezuma cypress which is said to 
reach an age of 3,000 years. In the Chinese, Japanese, and Himalayan 
area, south of the Mexican section, are rare varieties of rhododendrons, 
including some brought from remote parts of Western China, Thibet, 
and the Himalayas. There are numerous trees and plants from South 
Africa. One area is given over to medicinal plants, including one from 
China from which recently was developed ephedrine. More commonly 
known are digitalis, from which the drug of the same name is derived; 
the recinus, or castor oil plant; the Arabian kath, whose leaves are 
made into a narcotic ; and the white Chinese poppy, from which opium 
is made. 

303. South of the Arboretum on gently sloping ground is the ROSE 
GARDEN, a large collection of standard, hybrid perpetual, and tea 
roses. Climbing roses cover the fences enclosing the garden. South of 
the garden, close to a tall stuccoed brick chimney resembling a castle 
tower, is a fine collection of iris and Kurumi azaleas. 

NE. from South Dr. on Middle Dr. 

304. A low, clipped hedge of myrtle fronts the GARDEN OF 
SHAKESPEARE'S FLOWERS, N. of Middle Dr., wherein grow 
specimens of every flower, shrub, and tree mentioned in the writings of 
William Shakespeare. Flower beds bordering a lawn include pansies, 
marigolds, columbines, primroses, yellow crocuses and daffodils, and 
dainty bluebells. Trees shading the garden include the alder, apple, 
ash, cedar, chestnut, laurel, lemon, locust, orange, pine, pomegranate, 
walnut, and yew. There are beds of sweet briar, rue, and thyme. On 
either side of the plot facing the entrance, where an English holly 
stands, are marble benches backed by dense growths of box. In the 
ivy-covered brick wall along the east end of the garden is a glass- 
enclosed niche holding a bust of Shakespeare, a copy of the Gerard 
Jensen bust in the Stratford-upon-Avon church. The garden was estab- 
lished by the California Spring Blossom and Wildflower Association. 

305. DE LAVEAGA DELL, S. of Middle Dr., is a secluded glen, 
whose jungle foliage and fern-choked stream are the haunt of squirrels 
and birds. Giant tree ferns, some 20 feet high, grow among moss- 
covered rocks, mottled with shadows. Along each side of the twisting 


stream run footpaths carpeted with leaves and flanked by shrub-filled 
artificial gullies. At the dell's eastern end is one of the park's largest 
collections of rhododendrons and azaleas. 

306. The LILY POND, N. of Middle Dr., a long winding pool 
nestling at the foot of steep overhanging cliffs, was once a quarry. A 
walk bordered by huge rocks and tree ferns skirts the edge, and rushes 
and water grasses line the shores of the pond. Ducks paddle among 
the green pads of water lilies. 

S. from Middle Drive on unnamed cross drive 

307. From the 21 tree-protected, asphalt TENNIS COURTS, E. 
of cross drive, have been graduated such players as Maurice Mc- 
Laughlin, Bill Johnston, the Griffin brothers, and Alice Marble. It was 
here on some of the world's first asphalt courts, that McLaughlin 
developed the well-known "American twist" serve. The asphalt courts 
called for a much faster pace than clay and grass courts. Such pioneers 
as McLaughlin, after developing their games here, swept all before them 
in the East and Great Britain. 

308. On quiet afternoons the BOWLING GREENS (open 1-4), 
E. and W. of cross drive, first public bowling greens in the United 
States, present a picture of another era. White-clad men and women 
bowl on the well-kept turf, while spectators watch from benches on 
terraced slopes. A row of the rare Torrey pines protects the greens on 
the west. 

E. from unnamed cross drive on South Dr. 

309. The CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUND, N. of South Dr., 
occupies a secluded valley sheltered by thickly planted trees and shrub- 
bery. The first established in a public park in America, it was founded 
with $50,000 left by William Sharon in 1886. Its playground equip- 
ment, donkey course, and merry-go-round center about the Children's 
House, a two-story building of buff sandstone in Romanesque style. 

310. When high, oval-shaped, municipal KEZAR STADIUM, S. 
of South Dr., was opened with a track meet May 2, 1925, Paavo 
Nurmi, Finnish marathon champion, was a feature attraction. At first 
seating 22,000, it was enlarged in 1928 to a capacity of 60,000. Mary 
Kezar, for whom the stadium was named, gave $100,000 of its total 
cost of $450,000. It is of articulated reinforced concrete, with a deck 
of wood, covered by asbestos felt coated with sanded asphaltum. 

Kezar Stadium is used chiefly by football teams of San Francisco 
high schools and the Catholic universities, St. Mary's, Santa Clara, 
and San Francisco. Main events of the year are the annual clashes 


between Santa Clara and St. Mary's and the New Year's Day East- 
West game between picked stars from Eastern and Western university 
teams. Average annual attendance is more than 300,000. 

311. The BASKETBALL PAVILION, E. of Kezar Stadium fac- 
ing Stanyan St., is a long, low, buff-colored cement building roofed with 
red tile. Its interior, lighted by great skylights, seats 5,500. During 
the basketball season high school teams play four afternoons weekly 
and college teams at irregular intervals at night. 

VILION, N. of South Dr. near Haight St. park entrance, a hedged 
retreat almost hidden by flowering shrubs, half of which is walled on 
three sides and roofed by glass, contains tables painted with chess and 
checkers markings and benches to accommodate about 200 players. 

313. ALVORD LAKE, near Haight and Stanyan Sts. entrance, 
is a small lake sheltered from winds by tall cypresses and clumps of 
Coast live oak, the only tree native to the park area. 


Around the Bay 

The Harbor and its Islands 

FOR two centuries before discovery of the Golden Gate the navi- 
gators of Portugal, Spain, and England carefully avoided the 
sea approaches to the Port of San Francisco. The forbidding 
coastline and frequent fogs were not alone responsible for its prolonged 
obscurity: the outer islands indicated the danger of submerged rocks 
and shoals in the Gulf of the Farallones. Although soundings were 
taken by Sebastian Cermeno in 1595, not until 180 years later was any 
mariner bold enough to steer his ship through the Golden Gate. When 
the master of the San Carlos ventured through the strait in 1775, he 
sent a pilot boat ahead to chart the depth of the channel. Even within 
the Gate, Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala's little packet proceeded 
with extreme caution: only too obvious was the danger of being swept 
out to sea by the ebb tide, whose current had permitted passage only 
after the vessel's third attempt at entry. 

Although modern aids to navigation long since have made San 
Francisco's harbor one of the safest in the world, incoming ships must 
begin exercising caution about six miles from shore. Outside the Gate 
is deposited the silt brought down from inland valleys and carried 
through the Bay by force of the current. Fanning from the entrance is 
an undersea delta whose rim, tilted upwards, forms a wide semicircle, 
the San Francisco Bar, lying only about 30 feet under the surface 
on its north side, where it widens out in the "Potato Patch," only 22 
feet. During storms the waves break upon these rock-strewn shoals 
with disastrous force, and even in calm weather they are impassable to 
large vessels. Three channels cross the bar: the artificially-dredged 
Main Channel opposite the Golden Gate, kept open by the Army's 
3,01 5-ton Mackenzie to a depth of approximately 50 feet, and the 
narrow North and South Channels, close to shore. The entrance to 
the Main Channel is guarded by San Francisco Lightship, a 129-foot 
schooner with a flashing light visible in clear weather for 13 miles. 
Equipped with a foghorn and a transmitter for radio beacon signals, 
it is serviced by the Yerba Buena station. In the area between the 
lightship and the bar, the pilot boats cruise, waiting for incoming ves- 
sels. When contact with a ship is made, a bar pilot puts out from the 
lightship in a ten-foot dory to which a rope ladder is thrown over the 
inbound ship's side. From the lightship in, the Main Channel is out- 
lined with eight buoys, all equipped with flashing lights, three with 
bells, one with a whistle, and one with an electric trumpet. 



In strict nautical terms, the Golden Gate is the three-mile strait 
between the San Francisco and Marin Peninsulas. At its western end, 
lights and foghorns on the headlands and buoys in the North and South 
Channels (some equipped with lights and fog signals), make the en- 
trance to the Bay more conspicuous in any weather than it was when 
mariners like Sir Francis Drake passed by without guessing the exist- 
ence of an inland body of water. Radio beacon signals are flashed 
from the light on Point Bonita; between the cliffs stands Mile Rock 
Lighthouse. The Golden Gate itself is illuminated by two additional 
lighthouses, at Point Diablo and at Lime Point. And three life-saving 
surf stations are maintained along the strait, each with a staff of 9 to 
22 men on duty 24 hours a day. 

The efficiency of men and machinery in the modern life-saving 
service of San Francisco Bay is indicated roughly by comparing the 
casualties of two shipwrecks 39 years apart. The Rio de Janeiro, which 
sank in the Golden Gate during a fog in 1901, carried 128 people 
down with her. But when the Pinto was shattered on the "Potato 
Patch" in 1939 under circumstances that made rescue particularly 
difficult not a life was lost. Even a ferryboat, the Golden City, has 
gone down in the harbor without loss of a single life. At Land's End 
may still be seen the rusty scraps of four hulks which testify to hazards 
of the Golden Gate, but no one drowned in any of these disasters. 

The islands of San Francisco Bay, besides contributing to its natural 
charm, have played a notable part in its history. Yerba Buena, Alcatraz, 
the Farallones, and part of Angel Island were included in the huge 
Mexican grant claimed by Joseph L. Limantour, a Frenchman who 
swore that he received it in return for $4,000 he had advanced Governor 
Manuel Micheltorena in 1843. Besides the several islands the notorious 
Limantour Claim included about half the present area of San Fran- 
cisco. Described by United States Attorney General Jeremiah S. Black, 
who prosecuted the case, as "the most stupendous fraud, the greatest in 
atrocity and magnitude the world has ever seen," the claim was finally 
denied in the iSso's after expenditure of $200,000 for litigation and 
the arrest of Limantour. Gradually, since their recovery by the Fed- 
eral government, Alcatraz, Angel, and Yerba Buena Islands have been 
incorporated in the harbor defenses maintained by the Ninth Corps 
Area, United States Army. 

Less prominent are the Bay's two other tiny islands, but they too 
have had their uses. Brooks Island, the larger of these, lies about half 
a mile off Point Potrero. Some 46 acres in area, rocky and very 
sparsely wooded, it is (1940) uninhabited. Once known as Sheep 
Island, it was. exploited several years ago by a construction company 
operating a rock quarry there. Just off Pier 50, near the San Francisco 
water front, is Mission Rock, occupied only by a warehouse and a 


wharf, both partially destroyed by fire in 1936. According to water- 
front legend a Portuguese fisherman once stocked the rock with sheep; 
he rowed out to it once a year to harvest his crop with a shotgun, pull- 
ing the slaughtered sheep aboard with a boathook. 


Almost as remote as Guam or Samoa to most San Franciscans 
is that chain of islands known as The Farallones, which lie about 32 
miles off Point Lobos. Despite their inclusion since 1872 in the City 
and County of San Francisco, their inaccessibility to the average citizen 
has invested them with the unfamiliarity of a foreign land. Even to 
sportsmen, for whose annual yacht races they are a hazardous goal, 
their history and conformation have little intimate significance. 

The Farallones lie in two groups separated by seven and three- 
quarter miles of open sea. Seven isles constitute the southern group: 
Southeast Farallon Island, Sugar Loaf Isle, Aulone Isle, Seal Rock, 
Arch Rock, Finger Rock, and Sea Lion Islet. Of these, Southeast 
Farallon Island is the most important of the entire chain, and Sugar 
Loaf Isle (185 alt.) is the highest. Except for one island which rises 
to an altitude of 155 feet, the North Farallones are small and unim- 
portant. Noonday Rock, marking the northern end of the chain, is a 
submerged peak so named for the clipper Noonday which struck it and 
sank in 1863. Midway between the two groups lies "lonely little Four 
Mile Rock." The Gulf of the Farallones, the stretch of water between 
the chain and the California coast, was called La Bahia de los Pinos 
(the bay of the pines) by the Cabrillo expedition in 1542 and Bahia 
de Puerto de San Francisco (bay of the port of San Francisco) by 
Vizcaino in 1603. 

The Southeast, or South, Farallon, about 32 miles west of the 
Golden Gate, is about one mile long, half a mile wide, three and one- 
half miles in circumference. A rocky ridge runs its entire length, 
broken by gorges and a swift-running sea stream called "The Jordan" 
which separates the portion known as West End. The highest peaks 
of this island are Tower Hill (on which the lighthouse is built), and 
Main Top. In some places the slope from the ridge to the water's edge 
is too steep for a foothold; in others, there are ledges where sparse 
vegetation makes patches of green. The soil on these flats is a mixture 
of guano and granite sand. The forbidding coastline of the South 
Farallon is edged by grotesque rocky cliffs and caves. The contours 
of the island are suggested by some of the names given various parts: 
Indian Chief Cliff; Lost World Cave; Great Murre Cave; Giant's 
Bath, a natural swimming pool on Breaker Hill; Great West Arch, a 
natural arch with the sea swirling under it; and Breakers Bay, also 


called Franconia Bay for the Franconia, a wooden vessel of 1,462 tons 
which went ashore on West End June 4, 1881. Fisherman's or Tower 
Bay is the present (1940) anchorage. 

Despite a popular belief to the contrary, the Farallon Islands sup- 
port vegetation. Besides a group of 2O Monterey cypresses growing 
in one sheltered spot and the small gardens cultivated by the lighthouse 
keepers, there are scattered growths of rock flowers, moss, and grass. 
The largest of several varieties of clinging weeds is the Farallon Weed, 
bearing a small yellow blossom, which grows in a mat formation, some- 
times torn loose in sheets by the winds. It is used by the cormorants 
and other island birds in constructing their nests. Other weeds have 
been introduced through seeds contained in the hay shipped in for the 
solitary island mule. 

Around the islands gather great hordes of Steller sea lions, the 
largest congregations being on Saddle Rock and Sugar Loaf. The Cali- 
fornia Harbor seal and Pribilof fur seal are seen occasionally. There 
are also numbers of hares, descendants of a few given by an English 
sea captain to a former lighthouse keeper. These animals increased so 
fast that they surpassed the supply of food (weeds) and at one time 
died of starvation in great numbers. During the last century, when 
tender service to the islands was less regular than now, the rabbits fur- 
nished the only supply of fresh meat for the keepers during periods of 
protracted storms. 

The bird population of The Farallones includes California murres, 
Western gulls, cormorants, pigeons, guillemots, tufted puffins, Cassin's 
auklets, ashy petrels, and rock wrens. During the early i85o's, when 
fresh eggs were almost worth their weight in gold to San Franciscans, 
the pear-shaped eggs of the murres were gathered here and sold in San 
Francisco markets. The thick, tough shells of the eggs enabled their 
collectors to handle them with shovels and eliminated the necessity of 
packing, but gathering them was a dangerous occupation. So precipitous 
are the cliffs of these islands that the collectors, besides being liable to 
arrest as poachers, frequently fell off into the sea. The trade in murres' 
eggs continued until the late i88o's, when the supply had so decreased 
that the profits of collecting them no longer outweighed the risks 

According to some historians, the first white man to see the Farallon 
Islands was Bartolemeo Ferrola, who took command of Cabrillo's ex- 
pedition after Cabrillo's death, although other authorities question the 
authenticity of the old Spanish chronicles which credit the discovery to 
him. However, Sir Francis Drake not only saw but landed on one of 
the Farallones -on July 24, 1579 24 hours after leaving "Nova Albion" 
(Drake's Bay), where the expedition had been repairing their Golden 
Hinde since June 17. Drake named the islands the "Islands of St. 


James" and described them as having "plentiful and great stores of seals 
and birds." Sebastian Cermeno and his companions apparently visited 
the Farallones in 1595 when they were proceeding down the coast from 
Drake's Bay in their launch, the San Buena Ventura, after their San 
Augustin had been wrecked. 

According to Mildred Brooke Hoover, the islands had already been 
designated as The Farallones: "The name Los Farallones is derived 
from the Spanish nautical word meaning 'cliff or small, pointed island,' 
and was fixed on this particular group during the years when the Span- 
ish galleons plied between the Philippines and Mexico." The implica- 
tion that the islands were well known to mariners of the time is sub- 
stantiated by the chronicle of Sebastian Vizcaino, who described them 
in 1603 as a mark for finding Punta de los Reyes and the harbor of 
Drake's Bay. The first to name individual islands of the group, he 
called the Southeast Farallon La Isla Hendido [$/c] (the cleft isle) 
and the Northwest Farallon, Las Llagas (the wounds) to commemorate 
the stigmata of St. Francis. 

Firsc white inhabitants of The Farallones were fur-gatherers from 
the Russian colony at Bodega Bay. At a cost of much sickness and 
death due to improper food and water, they took 200,000 fur seals in 
three seasons. Although the supply of fur seals was seriously depleted 
at the end of that time, the Russians continued to keep hunters on the 
islands. In 1819 a new colony was planted there, including a number 
of Aleuts. They lived in huts made of stone, planks, canvas, and the 
sea lions' skins (some of the stone walls still stand). Lacking wood 
for fires, they used the fat of sea lions and seals. Only once did a 
Russian brig call at the island for their products. After several months 
most of the men, too weak to kill the seals, were barely subsisting on 
raw birds' eggs. By 1825 not one fur seal was left on the island and 
only one Russian family and 23 Kodiaks (northwest Indians) were 
living there. 

Since 1855 the islands have been under the supervision of the United 
States Lighthouse Service and closed to the public. In 1909 bird lovers, 
aided by Admiral George Dewey, succeeded in having the islands de- 
clared a bird sanctuary. At the present time (1940) the Southeast 
Farallon is inhabited by four lighthouse keepers, six Navy men in charge 
of the Radio Beam Compass Station, and their families. Still standing, 
though remodeled, is "Stone House," the structure put up during the 
1 85o's when the first lighthouse was built. The original light has been 
replaced by a modern one, raised 358 feet above mean tidewater and 
visible for 26 miles. To reach the light, the keepers climb a zigzag 
path along steep bluffs. It is said that during winter gales they have 
to crawl on hands and knees along the unsheltered stretches of this path. 



Resembling a huge battleship lying just within the Golden Gate, 
grim Alcatraz Island is known as "The Rock" to the Nation's under- 
world, whose most desperate criminals are confined within its prac- 
tically inescapable walls. With a capacity of 800, normally two-thirds 
filled, this prison for incorrigibles has had such notorious inmates as 
Al Capone, kidnapper "Machine Gun" Kelly, and mail robbers Albert 
Bates, Gene Colson, and Charles "Limpy" Cleaver. Amid the riptides 
of the Golden Gate, a mile and a quarter from the San Francisco main- 
land, the island consists of barely 12 acres of solid rock rising in sheer 
gray cliffs from the water's edge. Above its stone walls jut the watch- 
towers of guards armed with machine guns ; and below them the water- 
line is equipped with barbed-wire entanglements. The wall separating 
prisoners from the water is 20 feet high; the massive prison gates are 
electrically operated. In the main building the steel cell-blocks are 
three tiers high, arranged back to back in four double banks. In the 
mess hall, above the heads of the prisoners as they eat, hang drums of 
tear gas that can be released by the pushing of a button. 

When visitors call (they are allowed only once a month), they face 
the inmates across tables through sheets of bullet-proof glass reaching 
to the ceiling. Conversation is carried on by means of microphone and 
loudspeaker, over which whispers cannot be transmitted. Since all in- 
coming mail is censored and recopied, inmates never see the original of 
any letter sent to them ; they are allowed to send only one letter a week 
each to a blood relative. Industries employing prisoners on the island 
include a laundry, mat factory, clothing factory, model shop, and dry 
cleaning plant, in one or another of which more than half the prisoners 
are employed. The inmates are allowed to receive elementary musical 
instruction and to enroll for correspondence courses sponsored by the 
University of California. 

Less widely publicized by the movies and the press than the island's 
more forbidding aspects is its little civilian community comprising facil- 
ities for 51 families. These quarters, some of which were built half 
a century ago, are inhabited chiefly by families of prison guards. Some 
60 children of these families commute daily between Alcatraz and San 
Francisco during school terms, being carried by Army boats plying 
between Angel Island and the Fort Mason Transport Docks. 

The history of Alcatraz Island begins with its discovery in 1775 by 
Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala of the San Carlos, who named it 
Isla de los Alcatraces (Isle of the Pelicans) because of the great num- 
ber of these birds he found nesting there. In 1846, Pio Pico, last 
Mexican Governor of California, sold the island to Julian Workman. 
In March, 1849 Alcatraz was resold to John Charles Fremont, who 


acted as representative of the United States Government. Before the 
$5,000 was paid for the property, however, Fremont disposed of the 
island to the banking firm of Palmer, Cook and Company which sub- 
sequently brought suit to recover possession of it. Because Fremont 
had acted as a Government agent, the suit was denied and the island 
was retained as Federal property. 

When the United States began to fortify the harbor in 1854, a 
lighthouse and lantern were installed on Alcatraz. Temporary build- 
ings were erected, a wharf was built, and construction of batteries was 
begun. The building erected at that time as the engineer's office is 
still standing. Between 1854 and 1882 the Government appropriated 
$1,697,500 for fortifications on the island. Powder magazines were 
blasted from the rock and a citadel built on the crest. In 1859 the 
first Army detachment, Company "H," Stewart's Third Artillery, 
arrived on Alcatraz, commanded by Captain Joseph Stewart. 

The island was designated a disciplinary barracks for prisoners hav- 
ing long sentences to serve in 1868. From the early iSyo's on, trouble- 
some Indians were sent to this post from time to time. A company 
of Indian scouts accused of mutiny at Cibicu Creek, Arizona Territory, 
were incarcerated here, as were five Indian chiefs who mutinied at San 
Carlos, Arizona Territory, in June, 1887, among them Kae-te-na, friend 
of Geronimo. Of the many prisoners who arrived from the Philippines 
(one transport alone brought 126) in 1900, most had deserted the 
United States forces and joined the Filipino insurgents. Civilians who 
committed crimes against the Army in China also were brought here. 
During the 1906 disaster, 176 prisoners removed from San Francisco 
jails were transferred to Alcatraz. 

From 1895 to 1907 several Coast Artillery detachments were sta- 
tioned here. In the latter year, when Alcatraz was designated the 
Pacific Branch of the United States Military Prison, the third and 
fourth companies, United States Military Prison Guard, were organized 
as its permanent garrison. It became a Federal prison for civilian incor- 
rigibles in 1934. 

Escapes from the island are nowadays seldom attempted and rarely 
successful. The most ingenious of these get-aways was engineered in 
1903 by four prisoners, all trusties for good behavior, of whom one was 
a professional forger and another a printer by trade. Between them 
they succeeded in drawing up and printing a document recommending 
leniency in their cases, to which they forged the name of the command- 
ing officer. Through a friend in the post office department they suc- 
ceeded in having the document slipped into the outgoing mail. It made 
its way through all departments to the Department Commander, who 
then ordered the four released. They were given a military escort to 
the mainland. No sooner had they landed in San Francisco than they 


forged four checks to the sum of $125 on the quartermaster department, 
whereupon they repaired to a grog shop for liquid refreshments. Three 
of the men, fearing drunkenness, fled; but the fourth was picked up by 
police on a San Francisco street and promptly returned to the island. 
More successful were Roy Gardner, the "gentleman bandit," who es- 
caped alone from the island in the early 1920*5, and two prisoners who 
made a sensational get-away in 1938 and never were found. In 1926 
a plot for a mass exit was halted when the warden, learning of the 
plans, pointed to the Bay and told the rebels to "go ahead and swim." 
The invitation was unanimously declined. 

Alcatraz' grim reputation has caused San Francisco civic bodies 
recently to demand its abandonment; but though former United States 
Attorney General Frank Murphy in 1939 advised removal of its felons, 
"The Rock" continues to make San Francisco Bay the locale of the 
most fearsome of American prisons. 


Largest island in the Bay, mile-square Angel Island, roughly trian- 
gular in shape, rears its central peak (771 alt.) across Raccoon Strait 
from Point Tiburon. Once the site of a detention camp for hostile 
Indians captured during the Arizona campaign, it has served since 1892 
as San Francisco's Quarantine and Immigration Station (adm. by pass 
only to relatives of station employees; boats leave Pier 5, 8:40 and 10:30 
a.m. and I and 3:30 p.m.}. The grassy green of the island's slopes 
is broken by darker patches of trees and brush. In some places out- 
croppings of rock lend a fantastic color to the predominating gentleness 
of the landscape. The shoreline, nearly six miles in circumference, 
rough and steep in places, curves inward here and there to narrow strips 
of white sand. Above it a military road circles the island at elevations 
varying from eighty to three feet. A Federal game refuge, the island 
is stocked with deer, quail, and pheasant. 

When the San Carlos dropped anchor in Raccoon Strait, Lieutenant 
Juan Manuel de Ayala named the adjacent island Nuestra Senora de 
los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels). After a century and a half 
of consequent neglect, Angel Island was granted in 1839 to Antonio 
Mario Osio by Governor Juan B. Alvarado, who took this means to 
prevent its occupation by the Russians and other foreigners. Osio raised 
horses and cattle there; although he never lived on the island himself. 
However, his claim generally was recognized until California became 
American territory, whereupon Osio went to Mexico. When he re- 
turned in 1855 with a claim to the island, he found it had already been 
set aside in 1850 for military purposes by executive order of the United 
States Government. The island was occupied by Federal troops in 


1863. By 1865 a battery of three guns had been established on the 
west slope of the island, commanding the approach through the Golden 
Gate, which was later increased to 18 pieces; and in 1867 a general 
depot for receiving and discharging recruits from the Atlantic Coast 
was established on the east shoreline. 

Before the end of the i85o's, Angel Island had won local fame as 
the site of a celebrated duel, which grew out of a stormy conflict involv- 
ing the slavery issue. One Charles A. Stovall had brought with him 
to San Francisco from Mississippi a Negro slave boy known simply as 
Archy. When Stovall decided to return home, Archy refused to go and 
escaped from a Sacramento river boat. His master had him arrested 
but the Sacramento police refused to hand him over, whereupon Stovall 
carried the matter to the State Supreme Court. Justice Peter H. Bur- 
nett ordered the Negro returned to him. Archy's case then was taken 
to United States Commissioner George Penn Johnson, who ruled on 
April 14, 1858 that he no longer was a slave. One of Johnson's 
closest friends, State Senator William I. Ferguson, a Southerner, 
challenged Johnson's decision. Feeling ran so high between the two 
that arrangements were made for a duel. On a tiny piece of level 
ground on the eastern side of Angel Island the principals met at five 
o'clock on the afternoon of August 21, 1858. Dueling pistols having 
been chosen, it was agreed the combatants would start firing at ten 
paces, this distance to be reduced to ten feet if the first fire ineffective. 
When neither contestant was hit on the first exchange, or on the second 
and third, Johnson demanded an apology or a fourth encounter. The 
latter course was chosen. Ferguson was hit in the right thigh and 
Johnson in the left wrist. Ferguson was taken to San Francisco, where 
he died on September 14 while his leg was being amputated. 

Near Angel Island a prison brig had been anchored in 1852 with 
35 convicts aboard, 17 of whom escaped at different times, overpower- 
mg or bribing the keepers. The island itself served as a prison camp 
during the i87O J s for hostile Arizona Indians. A part of its eastern 
shore was set aside in 1900 as a detention and quarantine camp for 
soldiers returning from the Philippines. In 1900 the post was named 
Fort McDowell (adm. by pass only to relatives of persons at fort; boats 
leave Pier 4., Army Transport Dock, Fort Mason, at *J:20, 8:30, 10 
a.m.; 12 noon; 4, 6 p.m.). From December I, 1901 to June 30, 1902 
a total of 10,747 soldiers passed through the Angel Island station on 
their return from Manila. 

By an act of Congress in 1888 the building of a permanent quaran- 
tine station on the island was authorized and an appropriation of $103,- 
ooo set aside for the purpose. Constructed on the shores of a sheltered 
indentation north of Fort McDowell, known as Hospital Cove, the 
quarantine station was opened May I, 1892. In 1909 the Angel Island 


Immigration Station was established. Quarantine and immigration of- 
ficers board ships from foreign ports for inspection. Individuals who 
do not pass inspection are taken to the Angel Island Station for further 
examination. An Oriental Division is in charge of matters relating 
to vessels from China and Japan (a majority of cases handled at Angel 
Island are Chinese and Japanese). A hospital at the station operates 
under jurisdiction of the Public Health Service Department. Besides 
the Quarantine and Immigration Station, the Government operates a 
lighthouse, established on the southwest portion of the island, under 
license to the Treasury Department, in 1886. Its two keepers operate 
the light, a fog bell, and (by remote control) two fog sirens at other 
points on the island. 


Stepping stone for the bridge builders in spanning the Bay, cone- 
shaped Yerba Buena Island (open for official business only by pass from 
Headquarters I2th Naval District, Federal Office Bldg., San Fran- 
cisco), rising between the eastern and western shores, is the anchorage 
for both the suspension and the cantilever spans of the San Francisco- 
Oakland Bay Bridge. Through a rock formation of the island passes 
a bore tunnel connecting the two (see Emporium of a New World: 
Engineering Enterprise). East of the tunnel, the first of the bridge's 
East Bay spans passes over the buildings of the island's naval reserva- 
tion on a narrow tongue of land projecting into the bay, terminated 
by a barren low hill. Winding paved side roads lead to all parts of 
the island's landscaped and heavily wooded slopes, dotted by the neat 
dwellings of navy and lighthouse personnel. 

Known to early navigators and whalers as Wood Island, Yerba 
Buena Island was indicated on old Spanish charts as Isla del Carmen. 
The English navigator, Frederick W. Beechey, gave it the present name 
in 1826, but it was known locally as Goat Island in the early iSso's 
when Gorham H. Nye pastured his goats on its slopes. Until after 
the 1850'$, when the Land Commission denied the Limantour claim 
to the island and gave title to the Government, other early settlers 
raised goats there. Despite the subsequent disappearance of all goats 
from the island the colloquial name persisted, although various official 
documents referred to it as "Yerba Buena." (An 1858 map of Cali- 
fornia had called it "Ghote" [sic] Island.") In 1895 the United 
States Geographic Board officially adopted the local name. 

Not until December 19, 1866 did the Government first take posses- 
sion. First used as an infantry station, the island served in the early 
yo's as an artillery post, until fire destroyed the buildings, leaving as 
the only remaining Government service the lighthouse station estab- 
lished in 1875. 


On April 12, 1898, President William McKinley signed an execu- 
tive order setting aside a part of the island for a naval training station. 
At a cost of $74,400 barracks were erected to house 500 apprentices. 
The additional water supply necessary for the training station was 
piped under the bay from Contra Costa County. The island slopes 
were cleared and landscaped and a road built to its highest point. A 
fully rigged training ship, the Boston, was attached to the station for 
use in a six-months cruise of sea duty, following a like training period 
on shore. Stocks of quail and pheasant turned loose on the island 
thrived until in 1916 an executive order signed by President Woodrow 
Wilson set aside 141 of the island's approximately 300 acres as a 
National game preserve. The naval training station was officially closed 
in August, 1923. The remaining buildings and old training ship con- 
tinued to be used as a receiving station for transfer of naval units to 
and from the Asiatic fleet and various naval bases. 

The campaign to change the name of the island, begun in 1916 by 
historian Nellie van der Grift Sanchez, succeeded in 1931 when the 
United States Geographic Board made the name "Yerba Buena" offi- 
cial. A newspaper account of the ceremonies held on the island in 
June, 1931 states: "The day's legend was that there was one remain- 
ing goat on the island, and he was to be thrown overboard to free Yerba 
Buena, like St. Patrick did Ireland. Jack Love, radio operator on the 
island, dressed up as a goat and was twice fed to the crocodiles, figura- 
tively speaking." 

Below the eastern entrance to the Bay Bridge tunnel, a road winds 
down around the island past a marine sentry post to the Naval Receiv- 
ing Station on the southeastern shore. Commissary buildings, ware- 
houses and a carpenter shop, a building marked ''General Court Martial 
and Brig," and the old barracks with its colonial portico stand below 
a span of the bridge. At a nearby dock, beyond a tennis court, the 
gray-painted receiving ship rides at anchor. Its interior has been altered 
and its superstructure changed to conform with modern naval construc- 
tion, so that only the hull and the decks of the original ship remain. 

Below the high bluff on the southwest shore are the six buildings 
of the Yerba Buena Lighthouse Depot, where a force of about 25 men 
service and supply all lighthouses, lightships, buoys, and fog signal sta- 
tions on the California coast. A white-painted lighthouse tender, used 
to maintain contact with the various lighthouses and with San Fran- 
cisco Lightship, is stationed at the depot's dock alongside the red-painted 
lightship, Relief. Equipped with complete radio beam facilities, the 
Relief carries a crew of nine while in port and seventeen while on 
station. It is used to relieve the regular lightships stationed off San 
Francisco Bar and Blunts Reef during annual vacation and check-up 


Above the island's southwestern point, visible from the San Fran- 
cisco span of the Bay bridge, is the octagonal grey and white frame 
tower of Yerba Buena Light, erected in 1875. One of the smallest in 
the service, it is supplied by a i,5OO-watt globe magnified to 12,000 
candlepower by its prism shade, which operates at calculated intervals 
from sunrise to sunset. An astronomical clock regulates the light auto- 
matically to conform with changes in the daylight hours. The gray 
and white frame building with gabled red roof above the tower, occu- 
pied by the lighthouse keeper and his assistant, houses a radio-beacon 
monitor control station. Here radio beams from lighthouses and light- 
ships are checked twice daily with naval observatory time for frequency 
and strength. (California lighthouse stations are grouped in south, 
central and northern districts. In clear weather, the southern district 
broadcasts its beam only during the first and fourth ten seconds of 
each hour; the central district, during the second and fifth ten seconds; 
the northern district, during the third and sixth. The monitor station 
checks all districts to guard against lag or overlap between broadcasts. ) 


"It ought to be in the West, and have a tang of the Orient about 
it ... at the last frontier of civilization's forward march, yet looking 
out upon the most ancient lands and the most exotic peoples." So was 
hailed by Lewis Rex Miller in the Christian Science Monitor the 
concept and construction of the Golden Gate International Exposition 
(I939-4O) on Treasure Island. Approached by a filled-in causeway 
from Yerba Buena Island, Treasure Island (see Emporium of a New 
World: Engineering Enterprise) appears like a "stately pleasure dome" 
conjured up by the magic of modern science from Kublai Khan's 
Xanadu. By night this unearthly effect is enhanced by panchromatic 
floodlighting which transforms the exposition's towers and pavilions into 
a floating city of emerald and vermilion palaces. 

The architectural commission to whom goes much of the credit for 
the exposition's dominant features included such outstanding Western 
architects as Lewis P. Hobart, Ernest Weihe, Timothy Pflueger, Wil- 
liam G. Merchant, and Arthur Brown, Jr. Until his death in 1937, 
George W. Kelham, supervising architect of the Panama-Pacific Inter- 
national Exposition (1915), was chairman of the commission. Under 
its direction the goal which Kelham described as an attempt "to strike 
a golden medium between pageantry and structural beauty" was realized 
to a degree of perfection witnessed by the millions of spectators who 
have marvelled at the spectacular charm of the exposition's array of 
courts and pavilions. Working in close harmony with its designers of 
buildings, landscape architects such as Mark Daniels, Thomas D. 


Church, Butler S. Sturtevant, and the Misses Worn, under the super- 
vision of John McLaren, chief landscape architect of the 1915 exposition 
and of Golden Gate Park, created floral designs and arranged for the 
planting of evergreens indigenous to the Pacific Coast. Besides rhodo- 
dendrons and azaleas, native annuals, and perennials from all over the 
Far West, landscaping brought to this riot of color the exotic hues of 
flowers and plants imported from far countries of the Pacific area. 

Midway down the Avenue of Palms rise two massive Mayan-Incan 
pyramids (Weihe) supporting huge stylized elephant figures the ex- 
position's main gateway to its great circular Court of Honor. Here the 
slim octagonal Tower of the Sun (Brown), pierced by airy embrazures 
and surmounted by a spire, rises 400 feet to dominate with a Renais- 
sance gesture the conglomerate eclecticism of the surrounding archi- 
tecture. Northward from the belvederes and statuary about its base 
stretches the immense oblong Court of the Seven Seas (Kelham). From 
the facades of the pavilions which enclose it protrude the rearing prows 
of galleys with carved figureheads, suggestive of travel and adventure. 
This via triumphalis set with standards and lanterns opens into the 
Court of Pacifica (Pflueger), across whose fountain and sculptures 
gazes Ralph Stackpole's amazonian statue, Pacifica, symbolic of peaceful 
co-operation between the Americas and their Pacific neighbors, sta- 
tioned against a gleaming backdrop of tubes and metal stars designed 
to produce melodious sounds under certain climatic conditions. East- 
ward from the Tower of the Sun lies the long Court of Reflections 
with its serene sculptures and still pools, separated by a lofty arch 
(Hobart) from the adjoining Court of Flowers. Olof C. Malmquist's 
The Rainbow rises from the fountain dominating this enclosure, whose 
eastern entrance is guarded by twin Towers of the East (Merchant). 
The Court of the Moon and Stars (Kelham) adjoining the Court of 
Honor on the south presents a decorative vista of fountain, urns, and 
bas-reliefs. Beyond, in the direction of Yerba Buena Island, lies the 
sunken Enchanted Garden, where landscaping plays unconfined about 
a huge fountain. Overlooking this verdant area, William Wurster's 
Yerba Buena Clubhouse achieves that gay and functional quality asso- 
ciated with this architect's rejection of ornament and fondness for 
modern materials. 

Throughout the exposition's ensemble of almost a hundred build- 
ings, as various in design as the purposes they serve, are many whose 
architecture is notable either for beautiful modernity or for features 
suggestive of cultures ranging from Alaska to Argentina, from Missouri 
to French Indo China. 

The exposition has proved a gigantic workshop for all but a few 
of the more renowned Bay region sculptors and mural painters. From 
Sargent Johnson's grotesque Inca Indians astride llamas beside the foun- 


tain in the Court of Pacifica and Adeline Kent's evanescent Air and 
Water above the arched west walls of the Court of Honor to Robert 
Howard's gamboling Whales in the fountain of the San Francisco 
Building and Herman Volz's gigantic mural The Conquest of the West 
on the facade of the Federal Building the statuary and murals run the 
gamut of the Bay region's artistic achievements. The academic tradi- 
tion predominates in Olof C. Malmquist's Fauna, in Ettore Cadorin's 
Moon and the Dawn, in Haig Patigian's Creation. Purely decorative 
are Jacques Schnier's gold-finished panel, Dance of Life; Raymond Puc- 
cinelli's restrained Flora; Ruth Cravath's fountain group, North 

When the exposition buildings are demolished and Treasure Island 
is transformed into an air terminal, the semi-circular Administration 
Building will remain, and the two huge pavilions housing fine arts and 
aviation exhibits will become hangars for clipper planes linking San 
Francisco and the Nation with Latin America, the Orient, and Aus- 

East Bay: Cities and Back Country 

IN SPANISH times the distant shoreline opposite the Golden Gate 
was "la contra costa" (the opposite coast), to the conquistador -es. 
Today between the shimmering cables and steel girders of the San 
Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, the eastward traveler sees a continuous 
panorama of home and industry, extending north and south with hardly 
a break and almost to the crest of the wooded hills in the background. 
The "opposite coast" is now the East Bay, a heterogeneous urban area 
comprising ten municipalities in two counties. The bridge is itself both 
a practical and a symbolical evidence of its close relationship to the 
other metropolitan areas on the western shore. 

The hills seem to recede as the traveler speeds down the eastern half 
of the bridge: he sees a flat rectangular strip of land on which most 
of the industrial and business sections of the East Bay rest, as on a 
stage to which the residential hills are the backdrop. Ahead and to 
the right are the tall buildings of downtown Oakland, key city of the 
area, where the industrial district crowds down to the Outer Harbor 
in the foreground. Across the water to the far right a ferryboat dock 
reminiscent of a vanishing era in Bay transportation affords the only 
glimpse of Alameda, the island city. Far to the southeast, beyond the 
traveler's range of vision, are San Leandro and Hayward. Although 
the vast panorama of homes and business buildings shows no visible 
gaps, it is a jig-saw puzzle of independent communities closely fitted 
together Piedmont, a residential community in the hills almost directly 
ahead ; Emeryville, an industrial town crowding to the shore in the left 
foreground; Berkeley to the left, best identified by the white campanile 
and stadium on the university campus, spreading up the slopes beyond ; 
El Cerrito, and Richmond, residential and industrial towns far to the 
left. With a combined population of over a half-million, these munic- 
ipalities form a continuous urban unit, yet maintain their political 

Its scenic attractions and garden climate slightly more extreme 
in summer and winter than San Francisco's make the East Bay the 
family homesite of more than 30,000 commuters, who ebb and flow daily 
across the bridge to business and professional offices. The panoramic 
setting of the entire Bay region is nowhere better seen than from the 
Grizzly Peak and Skyline Boulevards, which follow the crest of the 
hills above Berkeley and Oakland. With impressive authority, a noted 
traveler has cited this tour as "the third most beautiful drive in the 



world." It follows for a distance the boundary line between the two 
counties which share the east side of the Bay Alameda and Contra 
Costa, the old Spanish name having adhered to the latter, although its 
meaning is generally lost on the monolinguistic inheritors of the ranches. 


Information Service: Oakland Tribune, isth and Franklin Sts. Chamber of 
Commerce, i4th and Franklin Sts. Dep't of Motor Vehicles, 1107 Jackson St. 
California State Automobile Assn., 399 Grand Ave. Alameda County De- 
velopment Commission, County Courthouse. 

Railroad Stations: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. Ry., San Pablo Ave. and 
4oth St. Sacramento Northern Ry., Shafter Ave. and 4Oth St. Southern Pa- 
cific R. R., W. end of i6th St. and Broadway and ist St. Western Pacific 
R. R., Washington and 3rd Sts. 

Bus Stations: Greyhound and Peerless Lines, Union Stage Depot, 2047 San 
Pablo Ave. Santa Fe and Burlington Trailways, 1801 Telegraph Ave. All 
American Bus Lines, 1901 San Pablo Ave. Dollar Lines, 2002 San Pablo Ave. 

Airports: Oakland Municipal Airport, Bay Farm Island, for United Air Lines 
(about Jan., 1941 base will be moved to San Francisco) and TWA. Treasure 
Island for Pan-American Airways. 

Taxis: Average rates 20^ first y^ m., 10^ each additional J^> m. 

Streetcars and Buses: East Bay Transit Co. to all points in Oakland, Berke- 
ley, and Alameda, 10^ or one token (7 for 50^) ; to Hayward, El Cerrito, or 
Richmond 20$ or 2 tokens; transfers free. Transbay electric trains to San 
Francisco, 21^. 

Bridge: San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge approaches: 38th and Market 
Sts. and 8th and Cypress Sts.; toll 25^, i to 5 passengers. 

Traffic Regulations: Speed limit 25 m.p.h. in business and residential areas, 
15 m.p.h. at intersections. Parking limit 40 min. in business district. No all- 
night parking. 

Accommodations: Eight medium-priced hotels downtown; apartment hotels; 
Y.M.C.A., 2501 Telegraph Ave.; Y.W.C.A., 1515 Webster St.; eight tourist 

Radio Stations: KLX (880 kc.), Tribune Tower; KLS (1280 kc.), 327 2ist 
St.; KROW (930 kc.), 464 i9th St. 

Concert Halls: Auditorium Theater, Civic Auditorium; Women's City Club. 
Motion Picture Houses: Five first-run theaters downtown. 

Amateur and Little Theaters: Oakland Theater Guild, Women's City Club, 
1428 Alice St.; Faucet School of the Theater, 1400 Harrison St.; East Bay 
Children's Theater, Junior League, Hotel Oakland. 

Burlesque: Moulin Rouge, 485 8th St. 




Archery: Peralta Park, loth and Fallen Sts. 

Auto Racing: Oakland Speedway, E. i4th St. and i5Oth Ave. 

Baseball: Oakland Baseball Park (Pacific Coast League), San Pablo and 

Park Aves. Auditorium Field, 8th and Fallon Sts. Bay View, i8th and Wood 

Sts. Bushrod, 6oth St. and Shattuck Ave. 

Boating: Lake Merritt. 

Boxing: Oakland Civic Auditorium (Wednesday nights). 

Cricket: Golden Gate Playgrounds, 6142 San Pablo Ave. 

Golf: Knoll Golf Course, Oak Knoll and Mountain Blvd. Lake Chabot 
Municipal Golf Course, end of Golf Links Rd. 

Ice Skating: Oakland Ice Rink, 625 i4th St. 

Lawn Bowling: Lakeside Park, N. shore Lake Merritt. 

Riding: Bridle paths in hills; horse rental $1.00 per hour up. 

Softball: Exposition Field (lighted), 8th and Fallon Sts. Wolfenden Play- 
grounds (lighted), 2230 Dennison St. Allendale School, Penniman and 38th 
Aves. Goldengate Playground, 6142 San Pablo Ave. Manzanita School, 
24th Ave. and E. 26th St. Poplar Playground, 32nd and Peralta Sts. 

Swimming: Lion's Pool, Dimond Park, Fruitvale Ave. and Lyman Rd.; chil- 
dren 15^, adults 25^; no suits or towels furnished. Lake Temescal . Forest 
Park Pool, Thornhill Dr.; children 15^, adults 25^; suit 10^, towel 5$, caps lotf 
to 25^. 

Tennis: 31 municipal courts; daytime free, 25^ per court per ^ hour nights. 
Athol Plaza, Lakeshore Blvd. and Athol Ave. Bella Vista, icth Ave. and 
E. 28th St. Brookdale Plaza, High St. and Brookdale Ave. Dimond Park, 
Fruitvale Ave. and Lyman Rd. Mosswood Park, Moss Ave. and Webster St. 
Davie Tennis Stadium, 188 Oak Rd. 

Wrestling: Oakland Civic Auditorium (Friday nights). 
Yachting: Oakland Yacht Harbor, foot of igth Ave. 


(Only centrally located churches of most denominations are listed] 

Baptist. First, 530 2ist St. Buddhist. Japanese Buddhist Temple, 6th and 
Jackson Sts. Christian. First, 29th and Fairmount Sts. Christian Science. 
First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1701 Franklin St. Church of Jesus Christ of 
Latter Day Saints. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 3757 Webster 
St. Congregational. First, a6th and Harrison Sts. Episcopal. St. Paul's, 
Bay Place and Montecito Ave. Evangelical. St. Mark's, Telegraph Ave. and 
58th St. Free Methodist. First, 459 6ist St. Greek Orthodox. Holy Assump- 


tion, 920 Brush St. Hebrew Orthodox. Temple Sinai, 28th and Webster Sts. 
Lutheran. St. Paul's, Grove and xoth Sts. Methodist. First, 24th and Broad- 
way. Presbyterian. First, 26th and Broadway. Roman Catholic. St. Francis 
de Sales, Grove and Hobart Sts. Salvation Army. Salvation Army Citadel, 
533 gth St. Seventh Day Adventist. Oakland Central Church, 531 25th St. 
Unitarian. First, 685 I4th St. 

OAKLAND (0-1600 alt., 304,909 pop.), seat of Alameda County, 
occupies roughly the central part of the East Bay metropolitan area. 
Berkeley and Emeryville to the north and Alameda, across the Estuary, 
limit its expansion, but to the east and southeast it sprawls without 
let or hindrance over hills and Bay-shore flats. 

From the tall white City Hall in the heart of the city, streets, once 
country roads, radiate : San Pablo Avenue striking northwest to indus- 
trial Emeryville and West Berkeley; Telegraph Avenue and Broadway, 
north through the newer residential sections to the University of Cali- 
fornia; Fourteenth Street, west through shabby neighborhoods toward 
the Bay, and east and southeast by zigzags past Lake Merritt and an 
interminable series of local retail shops supplying the small, neat but 
monotonous rows of white houses which make up East Oakland, Fruit- 
vale, Melrose, and Elmhurst. 

Closely hemming the downtown section, where a few tall office 
buildings loom over squat business structures, are two- and three-story 
homes of the "gingerbread" era, slightly down-at-the-heel. Spreading 
north and east toward the hills from Lake Merritt in the heart of the 
city are thousands of wood and stucco houses, each with its shrubs and 
lawn. The one reminder of Oakland's Spanish heritage is the modern 
homes in the restricted districts Rockridge, Broadway Terrace, and 
Claremont Pines constructed in a modified Mediterranean style of 
architecture, tile-roofed and stuccoed, with wide arches, studio windows, 
and sunny patios. Semitropical trees camphor, acacia, pepper, dra- 
cena, and palm ornament city parks and sidewalks, and figs and citrus 
fruits ripen in the warm sunshine in many backyards. 

Warmer in the summer than its metropolitan neighbor across the 
Bay, Oakland's climate is nevertheless tempered in summer by cooling 
winds and fogs from the ocean. This has attracted many San Francisco 
business men and office workers who, even before the building of the 
great bridge, came here. 

In the springtime, the hills become green backgrounds for wildflower 
mosaics of scarlet and purple, blue and yellow. Besides the Coast live- 
oak for which the city was named, the Monterey pine and the eucalyp- 
tus are abundant, the latter introduced from Australia in 1856 and 
planted by thousands in the hills to create a wooded watershed. Vivid 
with color during the spring months, the uplands are seared to silver- 
brown through summer and fall because of lack of rain. 


Around the City Hall spread the 70 blocks of the retail shopping 
district. Oakland's department stores and speciality shops draw patron- 
age from the entire East Bay region, but they also yield a certain per- 
centage of such trade to the transbay metropolis, as San Francisco 
trade names on the doors of local shops indicate. Influenced by the 
close commercial tie-up between the two cities, Oakland's tempo of 
living varies with the time of day : by dawn commuters are on the move, 
feeder highways to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge are alive 
with speeding cars, and interurban trains clang through the streets, 
crossing and re-crossing the great span. After the early morning rush, 
life in the downtown section settles into a somewhat more moderate 
pace. At the end of the day, as automobiles, buses, and streetcars carry 
thousands home from work, the main thoroughfares come to noisy life 

South of the central business district, the section between Tenth 
Street and the shore of the Estuary, oldest quarter of the city, is now 
given over to bargain stores, second-hand shops, and workers' homes. 
On lower Broadway is a section of honky-tonk beer parlors and skid- 
road soup houses, where a burlesque show with lurid lobby portraiture 
is neighbor to a hole-in-the-wall pawnshop and an old-clothes emporium, 
where panhandlers linger on street corners and at entrances to penny 
arcades. Southward, interspersed with unpainted, grimy dwellings, are 
wholesale houses. 

Along the Estuary itself, resounding to the grating squeak of winches 
and the staccato chug of wharf tractors are huge docks, a part of the 
Port of Oakland's Inner Harbor one of the three on the city's 32-mile 
water front: Outer Harbor, between San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge 
approach and the Southern Pacific mole; Middle Harbor, bounded by 
the Southern Pacific and Western Pacific Railroads; and Inner Harbor, 
comprising the six miles of tidal estuary between Oakland and Alameda. 
Into the narrow Inner Harbor come freighters from the seven seas. 
Here are held crew races of the University of California, and here 
pleasure craft and fishing boats nose in and out. 

West of downtown Oakland, extending from Market Street to the 
Bay and from the Estuary to Twentieth Street, is the West Oakland 
district. Crowding close about railroad yards and manufacturing plants 
are unsightly and dreary-looking dwellings. On some of the streets 
spacious old homes still maintain an air of shabby and aloof gentility, 
but many have been partitioned into crowded, rabbit-warren housekeep- 
ing rooms. Throughout the district are rows of ugly cottages with 
blistered paint and rickety stairs and porches, many of which are now 
being demolished to make way for new projects of the United States 
Housing Authority. Along Seventh Street, intersecting this district 
east and west, rumble the interurban trains. 


In West Oakland is the city's Harlem, home of the large Negro 
population attracted by Oakland's position as the western terminus of 
two overland railway systems, which employ in great numbers waiters, 
cooks, and porters. West Seventh Street is the center of Negro life. 
Here are dance halls, restaurants, markets, barber shops, and motion 
picture theaters for Negroes. 

Although Oakland's population includes thousands of Portuguese, 
Italians, Mexicans, and Chinese, its various national groups are scat- 
tered throughout the city rather than settled in well-defined foreign 
quarters. But their customs and their cuisine lend colorful variety to 
the city's life. 

The Portuguese have been here for three generations, and yet they 
still hold to such national customs and festivals as the Feast of the 
Holy Ghost, celebrated annually. A large number of Portuguese- 
Americans in the environs are truck farmers and dairymen. The 
Italians, largest foreign language group, have influenced the culinary 
art of the community. Numerous Italian restaurants feature various 
antipasti with which to whet the appetite; polenta, a thick porridge of 
corn meal; and such delicacies as fried artichokes or squash blossoms 
dipped in batter and fried in deep olive oil. The Mexican population 
maintains a few restaurants which serve native Mexican foods enchil- 
adas, tacos en tortillas, and chili rellena and an occasional hole-in-the- 
wall shop where strings of chorizo (Mexican sausage) hang from gray 
rafters and three-bushel jute bags of purple and crimson peppers stand 
in corners. Chinatown, with its dangling lanterns and picture word 
signs, houses its 3,000 Chinese in a loosely knit community centering 
in the wholesale district